Comment from Sarah Higgins on the Sustainability Reference Model

30 Nov

This is a guest post from Sarah Higgins of Aberystwyth (and previously the DCC) with some of her comments on the draft sustainability reference model. Note amendment to usual copyright arrangements in para 3….

As promised I have reviewed the draft version of the Reference Model for Economically Sustainable Digital Curation and attach it with my comments in track changes. These are indicative rather than exhaustive. [CR: detailed comments not included here; not sure how I could do it1]

I also attach a sketch economic model for information as I don’t have the software / time to do a more finished job (the DCC model’s genesis was hand-drawn). I think the model maps onto the DCC one with most of the activities the same – a “value” add-on. I could discuss this with you further if you are interested in my interpretation for the reference model. [CR: see end of this post; note unlike other content here this is (c) Sarah Higgins.]

1. does the reference model improve on the description in the BRTF final report?

The draft is on its way, but the prose is quite dense and in places a bit repetitive. To achieve the aim of helping curation implementers (purse string holders?) understand the report I think more use has to be made of tables, bulleted lists, boxes and diagrams. Some of the concepts seem clearer in the original e.g. “fig 2.1 Layered demand” in the original describes the value problem well.

2. would the reference model help you write a sustainability strategy?

As above – more prescription and less discursive prose would make this a “manual” rather than a discussion e.g. Section 5 could be presented as 5 step process (see comments in document). More should be made of the various policies which are required for a sustainability strategy e.g. a Collecting Policy, and Appraisal Policy …. hard actions rather than discussion on possible activities. Can section 6 become activities to avoid economic risk rather than a discussion of the concept  e.g. advice on how to decide value, advise on how to undertake selection etc…

I wonder about the order too. Should stakeholders and economic risks be discussed before how to develop a strategy for instance. Can section 6 become activities rather than a discussion e.g advise on how to actually do the areas identified.

3. how could the text be tightened up (clarity and brevity, as well as completeness)?

As above less discursive, use of diagrams, formatting etc.

I trust the names of your “expert group” / contributors will be published in the final report as we don’t seem to be a formally constituted group. [CR: yes, this seems essential; Sarah and others have invested considerable time, energy and expense in helping us, for which many thanks.]

[UPDATE: I forgot to add another note that Sarah requested: “that the diagram adds a second round of appraisal after access / use etc, which I now think is missing from the original DCC model”.] Diagram follows…

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