4C will help organisations across Europe to invest more effectively in digital curation and preservation. Research in digital preservation and curation has tended to emphasise the cost and complexity of the task in hand. 4C reminds us that the point of this investment is to realise a benefit, so our research must encompass related concepts such as‘risk’, ‘value’, ‘quality’ and ‘sustainability’. Organisations that understand this will be more able to effectively control and manage their digital assets over time, but they may also be able to create new cost-effective solutions and services for others.
There is a sizeable canon of research into cost modelling for digital curation but the research is in many way preliminary and there has been little uptake of the tools and methods that have been developed. For example, tools to manage and estimate costs have not been integrated into other digital curation processes or tools. The main objective of the 4C project is, therefore, to ensure that where existing work is relevant, that stakeholders realise and understand how to employ those resources. But the additional aim of the work is to examine more closely how they might be made more fit-for-purpose, relevant and useable by a wide range of organisations operating at different scales in both the public and the private sector.
These objectives will be achieved by a coordinated programme of outreach and engagement that will identify existing and emerging research and analyse user requirements. This will inform an assessment of where there are gaps in the current provision of tools, frameworks and models. The project will support stakeholders to better understand and articulate their requirements and will clarify some of the complexity of the relationships between cost and other factors. The outputs of this project will include various stakeholder engagement and dissemination events (focus groups, workshops, a conference), a series of reports, the creation of models and specifications, and the establishment of an international Curation Costs Exchange framework. All of this activity will enable the definition of a research and development agenda and a business engagement strategy which will be delivered to the European Commission in the form of a roadmap.
The consortium undertaking this project includes organisations with extensive domain expertise and experience with curation cost modelling issues. It includes national libraries and archives, specialist preservation and curation membership organisations, service providers, research departments and SME’s. It will be coordinated by a national funding organisation that specialises in supporting the innovative use of ICT methods and
Want to know more?:
Watch the 'One Minute Madness' from iPRES 2013 to hear Project Co-ordinator Neil Grindley explain the project in a nutshell: