Category: Reports

Report: Rendering Matters—Report on the Results of Research into Digital Object Rendering

Maintaining the ability of an organisation or user to be able to “open” or “render” a file or set of files is one of the core digital preservation challenges. This report outlines the results of research investigating whether changes are introduced to the information that is presented to users when files are rendered in different hardware and software environments. The report concludes with a set of observations about the impact of the research and provides some recommendations for future research in this area.

Report: Can Humanities Undergrads Learn to Code?

We were surprised to hear during the December 16, 2011 NITLE web seminar on undergraduate digital humanities (DH) instruction a recurring motif along the lines that coding (markup and programming) is so difficult that undergraduates trained in the humanities cannot learn it quickly or successfully, and so potentially alienating and anxiety-provoking that it should be regarded as too advanced to be considered a core component of the undergraduate DH curriculum. As two undergraduate humanities majors (English Literature and Linguistics) with no prior technical background, we would like to share our own experiences with learning and using computational tools. We hope that our very positive experience will encourage faculty elsewhere to give their undergraduate students the opportunity to become deeply and seriously involved with this exciting and rewarding aspect of DH scholarship.

Report: Orphan Works: Definitional Issues

When discussing orphan works, two basic definitional questions arise: (1) exactly what is the “orphan works” problem?, and (2) what is the size of this problem? The answers to these two questions are central to understanding how proposed solutions work to remedy the situation. Though both questions have long been posed, the answer to the first (what is the “orphan works”; problem) can vary based on the type of work or the particular user, and the answer to the second (what is the size of the problem) remains difficult to state with precision. This paper explores both and identifies areas where further research is needed.

Report: Mapping Stories for Student Learning

How might projects combining digital storytelling and mapping help students learn?  Digital storytelling has become a prevalent pedagogy at small liberal arts colleges, as we explored in a previous impromptu videoconference discussion.  Aggregating and visualizing stories spatially, offers a layer of analysis and synthesis to the student learning experience.  Since residential liberal arts colleges often have a strong sense of place, this spatial aspect to storytelling seems especially promising. Yesterday, ten faculty and staff involved or interested in such projects joined me for a Google+ Hangout to discuss the challenges and benefits of place-based storytelling.

Report: Open Access: PEER Economics Report

This study considers the effect of large-scale deposit on scholarly research publication and dissemination (sharing of research outputs), beginning with the analysis of publishers and institutions managing repositories and their sustainability. The study associates costs with specific activities, performed by key actors involved in research registration, certification, dissemination and digital management: authors, the scholarly community, editors, publishers, libraries, readers and funding agencies. Contrary to most of the existing literature, the study analyses cost structures of individual organizations. The focus of this study is therefore to provide context for the costs to specific organizations and to their choices in terms of scale and scope. . . .

Report: Trends in Distributed and Remote Preservation Storage–More Results from the NDSA Storage Survey

General conversation about the cloud focuses on third-party cloud storage providers. As the results below suggest, adoption of these cloud storage providers remains relatively small. However, when we consider cloud storage alongside several related ways of distributing and using storage as a service, some interesting trends emerge. The results illuminate both the widespread acceptance of some digital preservation storage practices and the continuing uncertainty regarding others.