“Without archiving there is no scholarly record “

IMG_0783“Without archiving there is no scholarly record” said Herbert van de Sompel on the OCLC/DANS Evolving Scholarly Record and Stewardship Ecosystem Workshop in Amsterdam yesterday. Unfortunatey I could only attend the morning session and did not participate in the discussions in the afternoon, but the presentations of Ricky Erway, Natasa Miliҫ-Frayling and Herbert van de Sompel gave enough food for thought.

Ricky Erway, Senior Program Officer at OCLC Research introduced their recent publication in which the authors made an attempt to create a framework of the scholarly record, that could be used as a common reference, just like the OAIS model is in the preservation community. It is not about the scholarly process, but about the end product, about “the stuff” as Ricky called it or the “Outcomes” as it is called in the diagram below. The authors envisage that this way of presenting the scholarly record and including the process and the aftermath, will better represent the collecting and preserving context of the scholarly record. Various stakeholders play their role, called the “stakeholders Ecosystem”, which could lead to different perspectives of the “scholarly record”. Roles could be “create” like the author, fix (publishers), collect (for example libraries) and use (researchers, public etc.). This model does not define the scholarly record, so as a library to collect this material you still need to decide what to collect. This was also a topic in the Driver project, in which we (pragmatically) gave the author a major role in deciding what should be in the scholarly record, or in the “enhanced publication”.

scholrecoclcNatasa Miliҫ-Frayling, principal researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge UK started by the statement that “digital is different” and this difference [from analogue] will ask for another approach if we want to preserve things. She saw a big role for virtualization, as is already realised by Microsoft for older operating software. So migrating files is no longer necessary if you keep the original, run it on a virtualization platform as long as you know how to handle the old software tools. She invited the preservation community to discuss with the software industry to keep older software alive in a virtualized environment, for example via UNESCO as an independent party.

To support the researchers in a good way, Microsoft Research tries to analyse the scientific practices in order to make supporting software tools. Experience in a Cambridge research environment shows that this is not an easy task, as often the same material need to be presented in different granularity and different order, dependent of the viewer and the stage of the research process. Linking documents in a computer environment (files) as well as outside this environment (hyperlinks) will require another information architecture than is currently available.

Herbert van de Sompel , scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory gave his vision about how scholarship is changing and took as a basis the essential functions in scholarly communication as described by H.E. Roosendaal & P.A.Th.M.Geurts. As his talk according to his own words, was a slightly updated version of a previous one, read about this here.

As the boundaries of the “scholarly record” are changing rapidly, it is important to think about the implications of it for libraries, archives and data centers. We might make mistakes in what we preserve and what not, but at least we should record our coherent view on what we want to preserve.

© 2021 Barbara Sierman