The research carried out by PERICLES will be driven by and evaluated against two distinct groups of case studies focused around different application domains and communities: on the one hand, digital artworks, such as interactive software-based installations, and other digital media from Tate's collections and archives; on the other hand, space science data originating from the European Space Agency and International Space Station, for example from experiments that monitor the sun's spectral variability to understand its effects on climate and atmospheric chemistry.
While on the surface very different, these two areas have in common an environment that evolves continually, not only in terms of the technologies used, but also as regards meaning, and the practices, attitudes and interests of stakeholders, whether these be curators, artists, scientists, engineers. By addressing the preservation challenges raised by digital material from two quite different domains we aim to ensure that our results are of broad applicability.
Rather than a single system, PERICLES will produce a variety of components (models, tools, policies, architectural approaches etc.) that can be used independently in different combinations to support a range of preservation requirements.
We will produce at least two testbeds as an executive layer over the workflow engine. We intend to demonstrate the underlying architecture and model-driven preservation approach and use the testbeds to carry out different test scenarios to validate the functionality of the architecture.
The research in PERICLES is focused around three core research work packages:
WP4 will investigate and develop a range of analytical techniques and tools for identifying, extracting, analysing and encapsulating information about digital objects and their environments of relevance to their preservation, appraisal and reuse, such as representation information, provenance, contextual information, semantic content descriptions, and metadata more generally.
WP5 will provide services and tools for supporting and managing digital ecosystems from a preservation perspective in accordance with the ecosystem models developed in WP3. In particular, WP5 will design and develop an ecosystem entity registry and policy editor, define and implement preservation processes, develop quality assurance methods for digital ecosystem management that are subject to technological, policy, semantic and user community change, and provide tools to support the automation or semi-automation of appraisal processes.
These three work packages are closely interlinked, as illustrated in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Relationships between core research work packages
WP5 will include many of the tools and services for extracting, analysing and encapsulating information developed by WP4. At the same time, these components will provide relevant metadata to control preservation management and appraisal processes developed by WP5. This work package will also address the issue of ecosystem change management by defining quality assurance criteria and methods with the aim to validate the ecosystem entities upon change, detecting conflicts and keeping trace of the ecosystem evolution. This includes for example the use of unit tests for policies, ecosystem graph analysis, semantics and user community change and other topics.
Finally, the information captured and extracted by the tools developed in WP4 will serve to instantiate and populate the linked resources ecosystem model developed by WP3.
As well as the two specific communities addressed in the Case Studies, PERICLES will undertake dissemination and engagement activities with a broader community of stakeholders who are directly involved in preservation or in the creation of digital objects with the potential for preservation. Some of these communities will correspond with broad application domains, and will represent an opening out of the domains addressed by the case studies (science and engineering; media and art; archives and other memory institutions); others will correspond to “enabler” stakeholder groups, orthogonal to the domain-based communities and cutting across disciplines (facilities and operations centres; data infrastructure technology; policies and standards; business and sustainability). The stakeholder communities provide coordination points for seeking input from external groups, for promoting the findings of the project and for extending collaborations to new communities.
Our engagement activities will include ‘training’ workshops where the researchers and target audiences will come together and enhance their mutual understandings of LTDP issues and solutions through dialogue and interaction. The workshops will be a platform for knowledge exchange and will include hands-on sessions offering stakeholder communities the opportunity to test PERICLES models and tools against their practical experiences. The acquired feedback and additional use case scenarios will help the project validate its assumptions and support the research further taking inspiration from real digital workflow examples.
PERICLES will also undertake engagement activities via a number of identified Communities of Practice (CoPs) by drawing together a group of selected individuals from various professional roles who are expert practitioners representative of a given industrial, cultural or academic field and are periodically gathered together to focus on a current fundamental question or set of issues relevant to the preservation of digital objects thereby advancing the field. The logic in outlining CoP dialogue topics is to propose issues that are currently being discussed intensively in different user-domains (e.g. the Records Continuum model) and are considered a challenge for the field of practice or of research. Read more
A key objective of PERICLES is to set up pathways to the take-up and sustainable reuse of project outputs in production environments, both commercially and in the public sector. While this objective cuts across the communities of practice, because of its importance this will be organised through a dedicated work package (WP9) that will be tasked with identifying technology transfer opportunities and developing a tailored strategy.