In This Section

4C Partners

Deutsche National Bibliothek
Keep Solutions
National Library Estonia
The Royal Library
Statens Arkiver
UK Data Archive
University of Glasgow

'Why Cost Models are Risky' by Sean Barker, 4C Project Advisory Board

Sean BarkerOn the final day of the 4C Project, Advisory Board member Sean Barker reflects on some of the work from the last two years, particularly that on Cost Drivers, and how this relates to a practical application in different working environments...

Reading through the 4C deliverables from the past two years, I was struck by the comment that institutions find it easier to create their own cost models than to reuse existing ones. Then, listening to the discussions in our Edinburgh meeting, I noted one concern that seemed important enough to be given its own name: “Indirect economic determinants”. Taking the discussion to pieces on the train back, I realised that these indirect economic determinants1 where what, in Systems Engineering, would be called non-functional requirements – requirements defining the quality of service of the system.

'Shaping the Curation Costs Exchange: sharing your feedback' by Magdalena Getler

With the end of the project just days away, and the time for the Curation Costs Exchange (CCEx) to fly the nest and brave the digital curation community alone almost upon us, our usability testers share part of its evolution and how the project has taken structured usability feedback to shape the CCEx into what it is today. Magdalena Getler of the Digital Curation Centre at the University of Edinburgh explains...

We would like to share with you the results from usability testing carried out on Cost Comparison Tool (CCT) developed for the Curation Costs Exchange platform.

'Zettabyting off more than we can chew' by Paul Stokes

Paul Stokes-smallDo you know what a zettabyte is? I don’t mean what it is in terms of digits. If you don’t recall immediately that it’s 1 with 21 zeros after (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) bytes it’s trivial to do a quick search and find that out. But that doesn’t give you real insight into just how big it really is.

It’s humungous!

There are loads of visualisations out on the net, but I find comparing abstract cubes and spheres a bit boring and unrealistic. Let’s face it, how often do you encounter multi-sized sets of objects in your day to day life (again Google is your friend if you really want to see them). I thought I’d have a go at using the everyday objects at my disposal to see if I could visualise a zettabyte, really get a feel for it.

I started with an ordinary sheet of 80 gsm printer paper. I found my Vernier calliper—buried under a pile of important “stuff” on my desk—and measured the thickness of the paper1. The calliper told me the paper was 0.1mm thick—about the thickness of a human hair. If we take the thin sheet of paper as an representation of a computer bit and use a widely accepted definition of a byte as being 8 bits then the thickness of 8 sheets of paper—0.8mm—gives us an allegorical byte. And of course we all know that a byte can be used to code a single character.

'How Time Flies?!' by Neil Grindley

So ... we are almost done. The 4C project was funded by the European Commission to run for two years and somewhat unbelievably, our two years is finishing at the end of January 2015.

The 4500 4C-related email messages that I've chosen to keep and file in my mailbox are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the amount of interactions that took place around this project. If I was to include all the communications that took place to set the project up; and was able to count all the communications between the 13 partner organisations in 7 different countries that participated; let alone all the messages that went out to the community ... then that really would be a big number!

'The Curation Costs Exchange unveiled and challenged' by Alex Thirifays

The Curation Costs Exchange (CCEx) was launched at the 4C Conference. The 4C-project introduced it and two guest speakers responded to it from their own perspectives. The presentations were followed by a – very – brief sofa discussion and a crowd bursting with questions, so it goes without saying that these circumstances made it a bit difficult to exhaustively and satisfactorily answer the guests’ pertinent questions.

So, this is what I’m going to try to do here – both for the benefit of the guest speakers, but also for every other stakeholder in our community who has probably – at least to some extent – been pondering the same issues.

In the same breath, I’d like to encourage any readers of this blog-post to participate by posing questions of their own in the comments’ section below. We’d be delighted, of course, if this discussion were taken to the CCEx forum.