Centre for Cultural and Industrial Technologies Research (CiTech)

Professor David Anderson
Director of the CiTech Research Centre
School of Creative Technologies
University of Portsmouth
tel: +44 (0)23 9284 5525

Funded Research Projects

(1) The E-ARK Project - EU Project 620998 (£6m)

E-ARK logoEU Flag

Our objective is to provide a single, scalable, robust approach capable of meeting the needs of diverse organisations, public and private, large and small, and able to support complex data types. E-ARK will demonstrate the potential benefits for public administrations, public agencies, public services, citizens and business by providing simple, efficient access to the workflows for the three main activities of an archive - acquiring, preserving and enabling re-use of information.

E-ARK is co-funded by the European Commission under its ICT Policy Support Programme (PSP) within its Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP)

(2) The KEEP Project - EU Grant Agreement ICT 231954 (£4m)

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Working with Janet Delve and Dan Pinchbeck (of the Humanities Computing Research Group) I am part of a European consortium which is deveoping techniques for preserving digital objects: text, sound, and image files; multimedia documents, websites, databases, videogames etc. The overall aim of the project is to facilitate universal access to our cultural heritage by developing flexible tools for accessing and storing a wide range of digital objects.

We will address the problems of transferring digital objects stored on outdated computer media such as floppy discs onto current storage devices. This will involve the specification of file formats and the production of transfer tools exploited within a framework, and will take into account possible legal and technical issues.

Although primarily aimed at those involved in Cultural Heritage, such as memory institutions and games museums, the Emulation Access Platform will also serve the needs of a wide range of organisations and individuals because of its universal approach.

Overall, we will create the foundation for the next generation of permanent access strategies based on emulation.

The particular focus of the Humanities Computing Group within the wider effort is the investigation of metadata models and the development of guidelines for mapping digital objects onto emulated manifestations.


(3) Digital Preservation Console Project (Development Study) - JISC £13k

Coordinators David Anderson & Janet Delve (University of Portsmouth)

This small project seeks to investigate the extent to which it might be possible to develop an
intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) to enable non‐specialist information professionals to
undertake a variety of preservation and information management tasks with a minimum of
preservation‐specific theoretical knowledge. This ‘Digital Preservation Console’, should offer
considerable opportunity for capacity‐building across institutions to manage, preserve and
strategically discard digital material.

(4)   POCOS (Preservation Of Complex Objects Symposia) - JISC £130k


Coordinators David Anderson & Janet Delve (University of Portsmouth)

Over recent years significant progress has been made in understanding the issues involved in preserving complex materials and environments. European projects such as Planets and KEEP have provided tools and techniques which have moved forward the state of the art. The POCOS project will deliver a series of 3 symposia at locations across the United Kingdom at which global thought-leaders in research into the Preservation of Complex Objects will share and thereby extend the body of knowledge on this topic. Each seminar will be supported by a substantial and innovative dissemination programme to ensure that the maximum long-term value is obtained from the outputs of the seminar. This will include the production of a peer-reviewed book of the outputs from each symposium offered to the community in a variety of low-cost (or free) formats including print-on-demand, PDF/A and free Kindle e-book. It is also proposed to webcast and/or web-release parts of each symposium in order to increase access for the community. POCOS will deliver pathfinder conclusions to the JISC community which will contribute to shaping the future direction of research in this area.

Project Partners: University of Portsmouth, British Library, King's College London, HATII (Univ. Glasgow), Joguin sas.


(5)   Data Warehousing in the context of Digital Preservation (Report) - JISC £2k

Coordinators Janet Delve, Richard Healey, David Anderson (University of Portsmouth)


(6) APARSEN : Alliance Permanent Access to the Records of Science in Europe Network - EU Project Reference 269977 (£8.69m)

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Portsmouth participates in APARSEN via the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC)

Project Objectives

Digital preservation offers the economic and social benefits associated with the long-term preservation of information, knowledge and know-how for re-use by later generations. However, digital preservation has a great problem, namely that preservation support structures are built on projects which are short lived and is fragmented. The unique feature of APARSEN is that it is building on the already established Alliance for Permanent Access (APA), a membership organisation of major European stakeholders in digital data and digital preservation. These stakeholders have come together to create a shared vision and framework for a sustainable digital information infrastructure providing permanent access to digitally encoded information.

To this self-sustaining grouping APARSEN will bring a wide range of other experts in digital preservation including academic and commercial researchers, as well as researchers in other cross-European organisations.

The members of the APA and other members of the consortium already undertake research in digital preservation individually but even here the effort is fragmented despite smaller groupings of these organisations working together in specific EU and national projects. APARSEN will help to combine and integrate these programmes into a shared programme of work, thereby creating the pre-eminent virtual research centre in digital preservation in Europe, if not the World. The APA provides a natural basis for a longer term consolidation of digital preservation research and expertise.

The Joint Programme of Activity will cover:
- technical methods for preservation, access and most importantly re-use of data holdings over the whole lifecycle;
- legal and economic issues including costs and governance issues as well as digital rights;
- outreach within and outside the consortium to help to create a discipline of data curators with appropriate qualifications.

Coordinator: Science and Technologies Facilities Council, UK


(7) TIMBUS : Timeless Business Processes - EU Project Reference (TBA)

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Portsmouth participates in APARSEN via the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC)

TIMBUS - a shorthand for Timeless Business Processes - is designed to offer 'timeless business processes and services', filling a gap within existing preservation solutions. Migration tools now exist to provide long term management of data and emulation approaches and services are in development for long term access to software so that information objects can be rendered. However business processes rely on increasingly complicated networks of responsibility in which services and data are shared. The dependencies associated with a 'web of services' are seldom properly documented and the risk management required to assess and resolve these risks becomes increasingly complicated as the interdependence of services grows. If the execution context of business processes assumes that services and data are available, then digital preservation services will also need to provide mechanisms that describe and where necessary exhume defunct processes.

TIMBUS responds to emerging trends within business information environments. It acknowledges the declining popularity of centralized 'in house' business processes and supporting services and technical infrastructure in favour of the 'Internet of Services' in which software and platform are developed and delivered as a service. This on-demand architecture is popular because it provides greater flexibility and scalability at reduced costs – but it also raises questions of dependability and durability. TIMBUS will therefore establish the set of processes and tools necessary to ensure continued access to services over decades. It will do this by developing and expanding tools for intelligent enterprise risk management, service dependency monitoring, legalities lifecycle management and the virtualisation of distributed and interdependent services.