Wednesday, November 07, 2007



1st African Digital Curation Conference:
When: 12 - 13 February 2008, CSIR International Convention Centre,Pretoria, South Africa

The advent of affordable global digital connectivity has created opportunities not only for more effective and efficient research, but also for new, better, faster and previously impossible research. The proviso to participate in the new forms of research, known as eResearch or eScience, requires that sustainable management and curation processes and practice are put in place at the onset of the research project.

What is digital curation and management?

Curation and management of research outputs (data sets, journal articles, conference papers, models, simulations, visualisations and a multitude of multi media), refer to the active management (taking care of), appraisal (evaluation of quality) and promotion (awareness creation) of digital content during the entire life-cycle of scholarly and scientific interest; and therefore stretches beyond the short term boundaries of an individual research project. Curation and management refer to accessibility periods of longer than 20 years.

As a start it is necessary to consider the following:

(1) National Government Departments and the Science Councils that provide them with R&D, universities and even private research companies continually produce, at great expense, datasets and reports that are intended for a specific purpose, but could, if properly managed, be repeatedly re-used, in their original or aggregated format.
(2) This cannot happen if they are dispersed among a range of project and institutional repositories/computers, many of which have no long-term preservation plan, and with no mechanism to make their existence known.
(3) Modern ICT provides for the infrastructural means to capture, secure and share such valuable items of intellectual capital. However, sharing relates to consistent processes and behavioural discipline.
(4) The previous points have led to the creation of Digital Management and Curation systems in all the leading research countries, at least in the Anglophone ones.
(5) Africaand South Africaare lagging behind, but can profit by the willingness of the leaders to share their expertise and systems.
(6) This is a potentially beneficial effort but will require resources and will to make it happen.

Researchers, internationally, are currently debating whether a research repository, one of the vehicles for access to research output curation, should be discipline specific or whether it would be better for institutions to create multidisciplinary repositories and to decide as an organisation how curation should take place. In addition the pressure, to insist that publicly funded research results should be made available in public access is mounting internationally. South Africa, for example, is a signatory to the OECD declaration on access to research data from public funding and yet the infrastructure to provide such access is under developed.

Objective of the conference

The objective of this two day event is to create a shared understanding of curation and digital management. In addition researchers (and the staff that directly support research) will be given the opportunity to surface their needs and requirements to ensure long term accessibility to their research output (data, information, models, graphics, etc.) especially then when the research is made possible through public funding. The unique requirements of five research groupings will be addressed.

Who will benefit?

Scientists & Researchers
Public Funding Grant Holders
Research Managers
Information Scientists
ICT Infrastructure Managers
Records Managers
Data Managers

REGISTER ONLINE NOW! Early registration closes 30 November 2007
Registration fees (R2 500,00) are payable by 15 January 2007

All conference enquiries can be addressed to:
Rina du Toit: Conference Organiser
Tel:+27 012 331 3404
Mobile: 082 785 3510

Conference under the auspices of:

DST (Department of Science and Technology
Universityof Pretoria

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