Convenor: Rhys Francis

Presenters: Mr Dave Connell1, Mrs Sandra Ennor2Mr Nicholas McPhee4Ms Jaye Weatherburn5

1Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Australia, dave.connell@aad.gov.au

2Monash University, Clayton, Australia, Sandra.Ennor@monash.edul

4Monash University, Clayton, Australia, Nicholas.McPhee@monash.edu

5University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, jaye.weatherburn@unimelb.edu.au


Achieving data management goals involves change management. For a University a growing challenge relates to the shift from

‘data storage is cheap – use as much as you need’ to ‘some cold data storage options are cheap, but high end data storage not

so much and it’s not unlimited. Therefore   we need to assign some Terms and Conditions – especially instigating sentencing

regimes’. These are not easy conversations and often a require a deep cultural change across the board.

Aim would be for the convenor to open the session with a few key questions (5 mins) including:

  • What is sentencing and why is it needed at all?
  • What incentives and techniques can be used to help researchers become more aware of sentencing requirements for

data and how this can assist them?

  • What are the most effective strategies to assist researchers in capturing metadata at the start of the process?
  • Before technical tools are implemented, what are some of the main issues in gaining traction for data to be effectively

sentenced and managed over time?

Then introduce the three sets of speakers.  Each speaker is representing a different aspect of data management and each stage has often involved hard or difficult conversations.

1)    Dave Connell – Australian Antarctic Division – Commonwealth of Australia (10 mins) – How to easily capture metadata – a government perspective

Although the working environment of the federal government is different to that of a university, there are a number of similarities when it comes to managing data.   First and foremost of those is the need to capture metadata.  At the Australian Antarctic  Division  our remit is primarily the management of scientific data, and over the course of two decades we have experimented with several methods of metadata collection ranging from the unfortunately complex to the ludicrously simple.  Further to that has been the need to bring about a change in cultural attitudes towards data management and  archiving.   This presentation will focus on what has and hasn’t worked with regard to metadata capture and how other extenuating factors have assisted in data management in the AAD.

2)    Sandra Ennor/Nick McPhee/Cath Nicholls – Monash University – eSolutions/MAWG/MerC (10 mins) – Research Data

Management and University Records Management – Reflections on what we have learnt and applied

Monash University (via its Monash Agent Working Group, a collaboration of Library, MeRC, eSolutions and Records and Archives) have been actively sentencing legacy electronic research data for well over a year now.  The initial results have been positive, but there has been many lessons learnt during these early stages.  This presentation will focus on two small case studies undertaken to date on two different sets of electronic research data. In particular we will reflect on how well (or  not)  some of the traditional corporate records management activities (e.g. sentencing data) have translated across into managing research data.  In particular this presentation will focus on the role of metadata, the triggers for applying sentencing actions, as well as the key communication and change management techniques being applied.

3)    Digital Preservation Strategy – University of Melbourne (10 mins)

Since 2016, the University of Melbourne (UoM) has been actively investing time and resources towards the establishment  and  implementation  of digital preservation (“the series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary” [1]) through a dedicated digital preservation project. A high-level strategy [2] and complementary roadmaps [3] have guided various project work to date, including training and skills framework development, infrastructure pilot projects, and cultural awareness improvements. Phase 1 of the UoM Digital Preservation Project concluded at the end of 2017, with much successful analysis to draw into planning a business case going forward. The business case for Phase 2 (the Implementation/Embedding project phase), including a draft preservation service architecture for the university, is currently under development.

Analysis work has shown that cultural change is essential, to increase awareness of the importance of digital preservation, and for organisations to invest in maintaining the value of digital materials over time. There is a clear need for digital preservation in different research disciplines, and for high-value data in active use. Active preservation processes must be initiated and maintained, especially for digital research material with complex dependencies (eg. cloud,  distributed  data,  proprietary  software/hardware,  complex  copyright  and  IP)  to  ensure  materials  remain accessible and reproducible. Governance and data stewardship planning continue to be a key focus for 2018 to meet this  cultural  change  requirement. The creation of a digital-preservation focused wiki to bring together disparate knowledge sources around curation for data is also a work in progress to continue to strive towards the collaborative cultural shift that  is required for managing valuable digital assets over time. Iterative, agile approaches have been essential both to drive change, and also acceptance of the new processes and new capabilities that digital preservation brings to an organisation.

Goal is to then allow another 20 mins for open discussion with the audience to tackle some of the questions raised at the top. Although the three institutions represented above are tackling different elements of the data management issue, when the three are placed together there is a nice holistic vision of what might be an ideal future state for the larger institutions dealing with diverse and rapidly expanding research legacy data. In particular the three themes of capture the metadata well (and early), apply sentencing and actively moving and deleting data as sentences dictate, and thirdly having an active digital preservation strategy. However,  while  all  of these themes are desirable, achieving buy in and relevance to the central audience (ie the research community itself), is not necessarily a given or easy.  Our job is to make it easier for our researchers, but part of that involves  having  the  hard  chat.    We  hope  this  BoF  will  be  an  opportunity  to  share  ideas  on  achieving  some of these communication and change management outcomes.


  1. Digital  Preservation  Coalition,  Digital  Preservation  Handbook,  Glossary:  “Digital Preservation”, accessed 4 June 2018, https://www.dpconline.org/handbook/glossary#D
  2. University of Melbourne Digital Preservation Strategy 2015-2025 – Vision Mandate and Principles, accessed 4 June 2018. http://hdl.handle.net/11343/45135
  3. University of Melbourne  Digital Preservation Strategy 2015-2025 – Implementation Roadmaps, accessed 4 June 2018, http://hdl.handle.net/11343/45136


Rhys Francis – Rhys spent the first decade of his career as an academic researcher in parallel and distributed computing. The next decade and a half included roles as a senior principle researcher, research programme manager and strategic leader in information and communication technologies in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). His experience includes  being  the High Performance Scientific Computing Director for CSIRO and the National Grid Programme Manager for the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing. From 2006 Rhys worked within the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy as the facilitator for its investment plan in eResearch and subsequently as the Executive Director of the Australian eResearch Infrastructure Council. Since then through a series of engagements he has continued to work to harness advancing information and communication technologies to the benefit of Australian research.

Dave Connell – Dave Connell completed a Bachelor of Science (honours) degree at the University of Tasmania, and has been working at the Australian Antarctic Division since 1998 and as the metadata officer since 1999.  His role is to catalogue and archive all scientific data collected by the Australian Antarctic program – specifically to ensure that scientists write high quality metadata records and archive their data in a timely manner.  During his time at the AAD, he has overseen the transition from ANZLIC metadata to DIF metadata, and also developed tools for converting DIF metadata into various profiles of the ISO 19115 metadata standard.  Dave is also very active in the Australian Government metadata space – reviewing and adapting ISO 19115 metadata  standards  for  use  in  Australian  scientific  organisations.    He  has  also  worked  with  the  Ocean  Acidification  – International Coordination Centre to develop an ocean acidification metadata profile.

Sandra Ennor – Sandra Ennor is a Senior Records Analyst at Monash University. Sandra has embraced a career in the Records Management industry analysing recordkeeping practices, project managing system implementations, enhancing training regimes and  increasing  education.  Those  elements  assisting with driving passions such as understanding Information Culture and evolution of business process. Sandra collaborates in Data Management and Big Data spaces with primary objectives encompassing frameworks such as – Change Management, Compliance and Governance, Networking and Rights

(including recordkeeping rights of the child/student and creating accessible systems for staff).

Nicholas McPhee – Nicholas McPhee has been part of the Monash University eResearch Centre since its creation more than ten years ago and is currently working with researchers and research groups in order to provide them with personalised information and data management strategies. Nicholas has also been involved in the development of information and data management policies and has maintained and administrated eResearch applications and data storage.

Jaye  Weatherburn  –  Jaye  Weatherburn is based in the Digital Scholarship team in Scholarly Services at the University of

Melbourne, working to improve and support data stewardship and digital preservation capability.

ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2325-0331

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