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Definitions of Research Data in the Arts

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Presentation given at Kaptur project workshop, Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research DataFriday, 14 September 2012, HEFCE, London. Part of the 'Where's the data? Were's the use?' …

Presentation given at Kaptur project workshop, Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research DataFriday, 14 September 2012, HEFCE, London. Part of the 'Where's the data? Were's the use?' session

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  • As part of the UAL DCC engagement work we are working on a definition for UAL, which we anticipate will be usable by other arts-focused institutions with mild tweaking. It's important to remember the distinction between visual arts and arts institutions - many arts institutions will have teaching and research in non-art areas, notably subjects like architecture, landscape architecture, product design engineering, sociology, anthropology, ethnography, etc. Some designers will also not think of what they do as being "art", although it is usually both visual and creative. The definition that we are working towards is a subset of the policy development work, and the supporting procedures/guidance. It fits in with UAL's contribution to KAPTUR in that there is a shared link between the project and the engagement (John on the project team, plusMartin/Laura/Kevin providing different types of DCC support) and we are aiming to supplement rather than duplicate what they are doing. However our focus is broader than KAPTUR's, which is explicitly about the visual arts; we go beyond this, to seek a definition that everyone (including designers, architects, etc) can work with. I expect that we will use the evidence gathered from the interviews/survey to build upon the KAPTUR definition, factoring in other important stakeholder 'definitions' (I use the term loosely here) such as AHRC and other important UAL funders, and seeking feedback from the relevant people. The Kaptur project have created a working definition specifically for visual arts and are trying to come up with something more solid as part of the project.
  • data.bris   “ Data, or units of information which are created in the course of funded or unfunded research, and often arranged or formatted in a such a way as to make them suitable for communication, interpretation, and processing, perhaps by a computer. Examples of research data may include a spreadsheet of statistics, a series of email messages, a sound recording of an interview, a rock specimen or a collection of digital images. Research data does not include data generated in the course of personal activities, desktop or mailbox backups, or data produced by non-research activities such as University administration and teaching.   In other words: Research data is digital information created in the course of research but which isn't a published research output. Research data excludes purely administrative records. The highest priority research data is that which underpins a research output.” http://vocab.bris.ac.uk/data/glossary/
  • Freedom of Information (datasets) A dataset is a collection of information held in electronic form where all or most of the information meets the criteria set out in the following paragraphs (of the new section 11(5) of FoI): It has to have been obtained or recorded for the purpose of providing a public authority with information in connection with the provision of a service by the authority or the carrying out of any other function of the authority. It is factual information which (a) is not the product of interpretation or analysis other than calculation, in other words that it is the ‘raw’ or ‘source’ data; and (b) is not an official statistic – the meaning given by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, and It remains presented in a way that – except for the purpose of forming part of the collection – has not been organised, adapted or otherwise materially altered since it was obtained or recorded (datasets which have had ‘value’ added to them or which have been materially altered, for example in the form of analysis, representation or application of other expertise, would not fall within the definition).   http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/in-practice/freedom-information-and-datasets
  • Curating Artistic Research Output (CAiRO) Within the creative arts research data is evidence of an identified research activity. The data might be part of an actual work created through research activity (for example a three-dimensional model displayed via public exhibition) or data may instead be documentary evidence (such as video documentation of a real-world performance event or digital photograph of an installation) of research efforts. Research data includes preparatory, unfinished and supportive work in digital form in addition to data relating to completed works.   http://www.projectcairo.org/module/unit1-1.html
  • 5.2.2. Heterogeneous and infinite   Although other subject disciplines such as Engineering have reported a wide variety of research data types and file formats (Howard et al. 2010), with visual arts data this is even more heterogeneous due to the nature of artistic research. Artistic research is relatively new compared to other disciplines, arising from the introduction of art and design research degrees in the 1990s. As a result, research methodologies may be borrowed or adapted from other disciplines, such as Social Science, and new and innovative research methods may also be employed. Gray and Delday (2010) describe the process of artistic research as follows:   It is never a smooth and homogenous process but fluid, 'wet' and folded, if not at times messy, fuzzy and tumultuous.
(cited in Mey 2010)   The nature of visual arts research data is potentially infinite, never ending. This is particularly the case with artistic research that is based on "the self", as Gemmell and Giddens describe:   We are always in a state of becoming, always unfinished.
(cited in Griffiths 2010)   One of the interviewees described their research process as much more of a continuum, without necessarily distinct or distinguished stages, but with "organisational moments"; at these points research data might be actualised as a natural part of the research process such as writing or "trials in the studio". Figure 2: visual arts research as a continuum over time with "organisational moments" at which research data may be actualised (Garrett et al. 2012)   Other "organisational moments" might include: compiling materials for an exhibition; externally imposed information required for the institution or funders; making a grant application, writing a paper; institutional duties such as lectures, tutorials, or other learning and teaching events; or filing information. KAPTUR will build upon the notion of “ organisation moments ” to create a model for visual arts research data in order to suggest possible intervention points when support and advocacy work would be most effective.   5.2.3. Complex and complicated   Visual arts research data presents many challenges for the data curator, for example in terms of classifying materials and enabling access. An interviewee commented:   [my practice is] complex and complicated. [For my PhD] I thought I was doing sculpture, I ended up doing book design and photography and now I'm involved in performance practice more than anything else [...]   Some of the issues are discussed in a case study produced for the JISC-funded Kultivate (2010-11) project; Gray (2011) describes a workflow tested in conjunction with the researcher which was "designed to support the archiving of live artwork" (Gray 2011). This resulted in the creation of a "granular catalogue record (or ‘score’)" which included:   videos of the performance, video interviews with the artist, scans of related promotional material, [and] digital photographs of objects involved (Gray 2011) By involving the artist-researcher from the beginning of the process it was possible to establish "the focus of the documentation process" (Gray 2011).   5.2.4. Digital and physical   Visual arts research data can take the form of digital files or physical objects. One of the nine EPSRC Expectations (2011) mentions physical research data: Publicly-funded research data that is not generated in digital format will be stored in a manner to facilitate it being shared in the event of a valid request for access to the data being received [...]   The implication is either that a programme of digitisation is required for future research data, or that at least metadata records will be required for physical research data which include access information.   A useful point to consider is that the research data of today may well be the special collections of the future (cited in Murtagh 2011). Taking the example of the Stanley Kubrick Archive which is housed in the University Archives and Special Collections Centre, University of the Arts London:   [...] a staggering collection of some 800 large boxes containing scripts, stills, props, posters, costumes, documents, equipment and a vast library of books [...] (Kemp 2006)   This invites comparison with the response of interviewee: [...] I’m just like anyone else I’ve got boxes of stuff, I’ve got a garden shed and then I’ve got files, I’ve got electronic files and I’ve got physical files, I’ve got ring binders full of clippings, full of photographs, and I’ve got documents of exhibitions that I’ve been in, I’ve got catalogues of exhibitions I’ve been to [...]   The description of "stuff" highlights the need for appraisal and selection (Harvey 2007) as part of the data management lifecycle for both digital and physical items.
  • Transcript

    • 1. … because good research needs good data Definitions of Research Data in the Arts • Marieke Guy • Institutional Support Officer, DCC • m.guy@ukoln.ac.uk This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/scotland/ ; or, (b) send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Funded by:Kultur Workshop, Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research Data, 14 September 2012
    • 2. … because good research needs good data Current Situation… • There are some definitions of ‘research data’ out there • There is some consensus especially regarding data sets • Often defined by institution for policy • But few of these definitions are appropriate to research data in the arts This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/scotland/ ; or, (b) send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Funded by:Kultur Workshop, Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research Data, 14 September 2012
    • 3. … because good research needs good data data.bris Definition • http://vocab.bris.ac.uk/data/glossary/ “Research data is digital information created in the course of research but which isnt a published research output. Research data excludes purely administrative records. The highest priority research data is that which underpins a research output.” This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/scotland/ ; or, (b) send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Funded by:Kultur Workshop, Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research Data, 14 September 2012
    • 4. … because good research needs good data FOI Definition • http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/in- practice/freedom-information-and-datasets “It is factual information which (a) is not the product of interpretation or analysis other than calculation…and (b) is not an official statistic… and it remains presented in a way that has not been organised, adapted or otherwise materially altered since it was obtained or recorded” This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/scotland/ ; or, (b) send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Funded by:Kultur Workshop, Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research Data, 14 September 2012
    • 5. … because good research needs good data CAIRO Definition • http://www.projectcairo.org/ “Within the creative arts research data is evidence of an identified research activity… Research data includes preparatory, unfinished and supportive work in digital form in addition to data relating to completed works.” This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/scotland/ ; or, (b) send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Funded by: ”Kultur Workshop, Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research Data, 14 September 2012
    • 6. … because good research needs good data Challenging Areas • Kaptur sees research data in the arts as: • Tangible and intangible • Heterogeneous and infinite • Complex and complicated • Digital and physical • “…no fundamental separation exist between theory and practice in the arts” Borgdorff et al This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/scotland/ ; or, (b) send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Funded by:Kultur Workshop, Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research Data, 14 September 2012
    • 7. … because good research needs good data Other Definitions… • University of Edinburgh http://bit.ly/aGXhiY • Monash University http://www.researchdata.monash.edu/resourc es/dataleaflet.pdf • Australian National Data Service (ANDS) http://ands.org.au/guides/what-is-research- data.html This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/scotland/ ; or, (b) send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Funded by:Kultur Workshop, Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research Data, 14 September 2012
    • 8. … because good research needs good data Activity • Consider the kinds of digital material that researchers create for their own use during a publicly funded project (e.g. AHRC). • How well does the definition you have been given fit your examples? • Choose one definition to report back on its pros and cons • Feedback This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/scotland/ ; or, (b) send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Funded by:Kultur Workshop, Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research Data, 14 September 2012
    • 9. … because good research needs good data Thanks Any questions? Marieke Guy – m.guy@ukoln.ac.uk http://www.dcc.ac.uk This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/scotland/ ; or, (b) send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Funded by:Kultur Workshop, Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research Data, 14 September 2012

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