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Monday, 2 March 2015

Pitching for Archivematica at Research Data Spring

It was with trepidation that I attended the Research Data Spring sandpit last week. A sandpit has childhood associations with lazy long summers, but reading more about the format of the event it sounded more like an episode of Dragon’s Den.

The ‘sandpit’ event was held at Birmingham’s Aston University campus
 and we were at least rewarded with summer beach weather on the second day


The first day of this event was set aside to explore and discuss ideas submitted through Jisc’s latest funding call (Research Data Spring via Ideascale) leading to potential new collaborations and partnerships.

On the second day, idea holders were given the chance to pitch their idea to a panel of judges. In a kind of four minute ‘elevator pitch’ we had to say enough about our project idea to explain what we wanted to achieve, why it was important and what resources were required, as well as persuading the judges that we should receive funding. This was followed by a four minute grilling by the judges on the finer details of the idea. No pressure!

After a late night doing sums, I have a final run through of my pitch


I was pitching a version of an idea originally submitted by the University of Hull that I had been quick to volunteer to collaborate on. The idea is based around investigating Archivematica for use within a wider technical infrastructure for research data management. We are hoping to plug the digital preservation gap and demonstrate the benefits that Archivematica can bring as part of an automated workflow for ingesting and processing research data.

My poster advertising the idea
Initially we would like to do a piece of investigative work looking at what Archivematica has to offer Higher Education Institutions in the UK who are currently setting up workflows for managing research data. We want to look at its strengths and weaknesses, and highlight areas for development in order to inform a further phase of the project in which we would sponsor some development work to enhance Archivematica. In the last phase of the project we hope to implement a proof of concept integrated into our existing Fedora repositories and push some real research data through the system. We would write up our findings as a case study and intend to continue to spread awareness of our work through presentations and blogs.


Many universities in the UK will not yet be ready to start thinking seriously about digital preservation, but the hope is that if this idea is funded, our work with Archivematica will help inform future decision making in this area for other institutions.