Sustainable Management Of Digital Music Research Data

Easily create DSpace submissions with many files

One of the limitations of DSpace pointed out by our test users is the way the web interface manages the upload of bitstreams (i.e. files) during a the submission process. We were aware of this fact already from the beginning, and tried to find alternative solutions.

DSpace for Digital Music Research Data Management

DSpace is a free, open-source data management system originally created by MIT and Hewlett Packard. It is currently developed under the auspices of Duraspace, a not-for-profit set up to support the Fedora Commons repository framework. There is an active development community, updating both the core application and creating application specific changes – DSpace is the basis for the Dryad project for research data management in the biosciences.

DSpace provides a fully functional repository system. It is very widely used with over 1000 live instances listed online. As DSpace provides a turnkey system, it is less flexible than operating in the Fedora framework, but allows a fully-functional web-based repository to be set up within a short time-scale (see installing DSpace on CentOS).

Apologies for the long silence

A sincere apology from the entire SMDMRD team for the long silence on this blog caused by technical difficulties: the hosting server had some security issues, and given the large amount of accounts to restore, it took our IT support a long time to fix it.

Open Access to Scientific Information

POST, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, published "POST Note 397" on Open Access to Scientific Information on 25th January 2012. The briefing considers open access to both publications and data.

Awareness of Open Access within the government seems to be rising, with the government committing to expand access to research publications and data in March 2011. In September 2011, an independent working group was set up to examine how to attain this - recommendations being expected spring 2012.

The POST Note points out that: OA to data could allow validation of findings and data re-use to "advance knowledge and promote innovation"; sharing data requires effective data management and archiving; sharing data presents challenges re. IP and privacy; and that expanding access requires collaboration between researchers, librarians, HEIs, funders and publishers.

Installing DSpace from a command-line on CentOS 6

Having evaluated possible data management solutions and selected DSpace as our solution, we need to allow some users to examine DSpace and consider how it will fit in with their workflow. The initial evaluation took place on a desktop PC with the data management server running as a virtual machine. In order to allow further evaluation we have now set up a “proper" server environment to test DSpace – this server has a command-line interface and no GUI, requiring a more “managed" approach to setting up the system.

Warning: this is a technical post, which is offered in the hope that it may be of assistance to anyone else installing DSpace.

On writing Data Management Plans and policies

An essential objective of our project is to produce a Data Management Plan (DMP) for C4DM. This goal is described in "Deliverable 4.1: Data management plan":

"A data management plan for C4DM will be developed, detailing issues such as the responsibilities of researchers and managers, conventions for specifying ownership and access rights, means of protection of personal data, version control and quality control".

Having worked on a draft document for a few days, it seems now the right time to make some considerations and perhaps receive feedback from more experienced people in the field.

Online survey

In our quest to better understand how our colleagues manage their research data, and how to best customise our Data Management System (based on DSpace) to suit their needs, we started out by organising face to face interviews (see here, here, and here). Unfortunately, interviews are a very time-consuming activity, and because of conferences, lectures, holidays etc., it is very difficult to find suitable times for everyone to meet. For this reason, we decided to use an online survey, created on We kept the survey short (it takes around 10 minutes to complete) to encourage people to respond.

And the winning platform is...

This is a follow up to one of the first blog posts about pros and cons of several Data Management systems. Before Christmas, Steve worked hard to complete the installation of the few software packages we wanted to test: Fedora Commons with the Islandora Drupal module, DataVerse, and DSpace. We were also hoping to obtain a demo version of DataFlow to test along with the other packages: we met the DataFlow team in Nottingham and they were planning to release some Debian packages by the end of the year, but that revealed to be more difficult than expected. Currently, the guys in Oxford are planning to send us a virtual machine image by the end of January.

Poster at DMRN+6 Workshop (20 Dec 2011, Queen Mary, University of London)

Next Tuesday (20 December) we will present a poster describing our project at the DMRN+6 Workshop, organised by C4DM at Queen Mary University. See our poster by clicking here. The Digital Music Researh Network (DMRN) aims to promote research in the area of Digital Music, by bringing together researchers from UK universities and industry in electronic engineering, computer science, and music. This one-day workshop is an ideal opportunity for networking with other people working in the area.

Blog policies

Following Brian Kelly's suggestion during the tutorial "Blogging Practices To Support Project Work" at the Managing Research Data programme launch event (see this post), we added a page with our blog's policies.

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