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Pinning It Down: Towards a Practical Definition of 'Research Data' for Creative Arts Institutions

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Presentation given by Marieke Guy, Martin Donnelly & Laura Molloy (Digital Curation Centre) on Wednesday 16th January 2013
at 8th International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC13), Amsterdam, Holland.

Presentation given by Marieke Guy, Martin Donnelly & Laura Molloy (Digital Curation Centre) on Wednesday 16th January 2013
at 8th International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC13), Amsterdam, Holland.

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Pinning It Down: Towards a Practical Definition of 'Research Data' for Creative Arts Institutions

  1. 1. … because good research needs good data Pinning It Down: Towards a Practical Definition of 'Research Data' for Creative Arts Institutions Marieke Guy, Martin Donnelly & Laura Molloy Digital Curation Centre Wednesday 16th January 2013 IDCC13 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, Funded by: USA. 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  2. 2. Institutional Engagement • Begun in 2012, ongoing involvement in JISC Kaptur project • Surveys/interviews of researchers • UAL policy & RDM area on web site • UAL data management planning template • Funder requirements document • Training & advocacy, clarification of roles • Exploration of use of Datastage-eprints-Figshare • Definition of ‘research data’ for creative arts institutions 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  3. 3. Complimentary Work Kaptur UAL Engagement Funded by JISC MRD Funded by HEFCE through UMF Oct 2011 – March 2013 Summer 2011 – Spring 2013 Led by the Visual Arts Data Service Jointly initiated by DCC and UAL (VADS) Four partners: Glasgow School of Art; Brings together staff from many Goldsmiths, University of London; support and research areas at UAL University for the Creative Arts; and University of the Arts London Focused on visual arts Focused on broader range of research and teaching areas 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  4. 4. What is Research Data? 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  5. 5. What is Scientific Research Data? …whatever is produced in research or evidences its outputs “highest priority research data is that which underpins a research output” • Facts • Statistics • qualitative • quantitative • Not published research output • Discipline specific 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  6. 6. Definition Issues for Arts Institutions • Kaptur project sees RD in the visual arts as: • Tangible and intangible • Heterogeneous and infinite • Complex and complicated • Digital and physical • Scientific vs artistic/humanities research methods - evidence-based vs argument-based. • “…no fundamental separation exist between theory and practice in the arts” Borgdorff et al 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  7. 7. Survey and Interviews Deliberately targeted interactions with active researchers, informed by an institutional working group and collecting evidence across a variety of issues: what research data they create, what format it is in, how they manage it, how it might be shared and reused, and – crucially – what ‘research data’ actually means in a specialist creative arts institution. 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  8. 8. Interview Results • The term research data “doesn’t mean a lot” • Many saw research data as publications or exhibitions, and not data per se • Most recognised the importance of research data to themselves and to others • Alternate approaches: • For Kaptur interviews expressions ‘documenting the research process’ & ‘visualisation and documentation’ were offered as alternatives to research data • Idea of ‘organisational moments’ or ‘trigger points for data creation or management activity’ • Explanation by interviewer at start 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  9. 9. Work with Practioner • Paul Ryan – lecturer and arts researcher • Symbolic data vs Iconic data • Data is more valid if the position of interpretation from which it is presented is clarified Thesis: Peirce’s Semeiotic and the Implications for Æsthetics in the Visual Arts: a study of the sketchbook and its positions in the hierarchies of making, collecting and exhibiting An A7 sketchbook double page spread made by Paul Ryan during his PhD 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  10. 10. Workshop: Managing the Material • Kaptur Workshop - Managing the Material: Tackling Visual Arts as Research Data, 14 September 2012 • Attempt to identifying the research data that might be arise out of the research process Supporting work – storyboards, mood boards, sketch book pages,  notes, architectural models, reflection journals. Recordings of activities/conversations. Video/audio. Raw data – digital photographs, video recordings, interviews. Interdisciplinarly needs – computer algorithms , interactive physical art,  installation, interactive experience of the art work (for neuro- psychology) Exhibition records, catalogues, preview invitations, correspondence with venue/curators. 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  11. 11. Issues and Observations • Factual information vs 'provocation’ • Interdisciplinary projects • Can arts subjects learn from scientific approaches? • Erik Andersson -‘Fine Science and Social Arts – on common grounds and necessary boundaries of two ways to produce meaning’ • Research is about moving towards "new knowledge and meaning” • Can a definition consist solely of examples? 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  12. 12. UAL RDM Policy “Research data in the Arts is not so easily defined as in STEM subjects. The data types cited in this policy are not intended to be exhaustive, and definitions of what constitutes research data will vary from funder to funder. Generally, research data can be considered anything created, captured or collected as an output of funded research work in its original state. In essence, this policy covers raw materials and finished outputs, but not necessarily the stages in between. It applies primarily to externally funded, digital research data, although non-digital data (such as sketchbooks) may also be covered, and requests from researchers to digitise existing analogue research data will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Where data exists in a non-digital form, appropriate effort to manage this to meet the expectations is also likely to be required. No reasonable external request to access analogue research data resulting from externally funded research will be refused, and access should be arranged between the principal investigator and the department of Research Management and Administration (RMA).” 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  13. 13. Lessons Learnt • A definition is useful • Some creative arts researchers may feel threatened by definitions and “performing artistic research in this demystified way “ • Clarifying position of interpretation/inquiry is useful for arts and sciences • Examples are helpful • Terminology is tricky • There is a lot more interesting discussion to be had! 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  14. 14. Image Credits • Brain art- http://www.flickr.com/photos/arselectronica/7773 544158/ • Post-it notes - http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanstanton/606183 0410/ • Sketchbook - http://www.flickr.com/photos/r_rose/70878680/ 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013
  15. 15. Any questions? Follow us on twitter @digitalcuration and #ukdcc 8th International Digital Curation Conference, Amsterdam, 16 th January 2013

Editor's Notes

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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