[Asis-l] First International Workshop on Database Preservation (PresDB'07)

Joy Davidson british.editor at erpanet.org
Tue Jan 30 09:47:41 EST 2007

***Apologies for cross-posting***

First International Workshop on Database Preservation (PresDB’07)
23 March DCC, Edinburgh, UK

Most of scientific research is now based on digital data resources, and
databases are playing
an increasingly important role.  Much of the data is either impossible (e.g.
climate and
demographic data) to reproduce or can only be recovered at enormous costs
(e.g. data from
high energy physics experiments or space flight missions). Nearly every
reference manual,
dictionary and gazetteer benefits from some form of database management
support, and there
has been an explosion in the number of curated databases in biology. These
represent a huge investment of human effort. The need for preservation is

While considerable thought has been given in the past to the preservation of
"digital objects", the preservation of databases, which have an internal
structure and which
may change over time, poses new challenges. Typically databases are
centrally managed, and
their survival depends on the viability of commercial organisations or the
continued public
funding of data centres. Libraries, the traditional curators of scientific
and scholarly
reference material, have largely abrogated their archival responsibility to
Database preservation raises new technical, economic and legal issues. For

 -- What are the salient features of a database that should be preserved?
 -- What are the different stages in the database preservation's life cycle?
 -- How do we keep archived databases readable and usable in the long term
(at acceptable cost)?
 -- How do we separate the data from a specific database management
 -- How can we preserve the original data semantics and structure?
 -- How can we preserve data while it continues to evolve?
 -- How can we have efficient preservation frameworks, while retaining the
ability to query
    different database versions?
 -- How can multi-user online access be provided to hundreds of archived
databases containing
    terabytes of data?
 -- Can we move from a centralised model to a distributed, redundant model
of database preservation?
 -- What documentation is preserved together with a database, and in what
 -- What are the legal encumbrances on database preservation?
 -- What can be learned from traditional archival appraisal for the
selection of databases for
 -- To what extent can the preservation strategies, and procedural policies
developed by archivists
    be adapted for databases?

The workshop aims to bring together an interdisciplinary group of
researchers and practitioners
who will address archival issues associated with databases. All participants
’ presentations will
be hosted by the workshop site and a short report with the final conclusions
of the workshop discussions
will be published.

PresDB is an informal workshop organized by a small executive committee. The
one-day program of the workshop will
consist of oral presentations and brainstorming sessions. Attendance will be
mainly by invitation from the executive
committee. To stimulate interaction and discussion, participants are also
invited to submit short position papers until
02/03/2007 (submissions will be send via e-mail to Vassilis Christophides
christop at ics.forth.gr).

Timing and Venue
The workshop will be take place the 23 of March at the UK Digital Curation
Centre and the Database Group in the
School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh.

Executive Committee
Peter Buneman, University of Edinburgh, UK
Vassilis Christophides, University of Crete and FORTH-ICS, Greece (Chair)
Bertram Ludaescher University of California, Davis, USA
Chris Rusbridge, Digital Curation Center (DCC), UK
Wang-Chiew Tan, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
Ken Thibodeau National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), USA

Joy Davidson
DCC Training Coordinator and ERPANET British Editor
Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII)
George Service House, 11 University Gardens,
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QJ
Tel: +44(0)141 330 8592
Fax: +44(0)141 330 3788

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