RDA 9th Plenary Joint meeting: IG Data Rescue, IG Domain Repositories, IG Metadata, IG Big Data, IG Ethics and Social Aspects of Data

Meeting title

Data Rescue

Groups: IG Data Rescue, IG Domain Repositories, IG Metadata, IG Big Data, IG Ethics and Social Aspects of Data

Short introduction describing the activities and the scope of the groups: 

The Data Rescue IG is concerned with the potential loss to science and research through lack of access to many of the older observations and records that are not in modern electronic formats.; most are in analogue or early digital formats, and are effectively inaccessible to researchers. Lack of access, particularly in matters revolving around time variability, gives rise to warped results and incorrect models. The IG seeks to create links with, and to encourage, data-rescue efforts and to support them where possible. It recently held a 2-day Workshop for "The Rescue of Data At Risk" in Boulder, to analyse the state of play and suggest ways forward to highlight the seriousness of the situation and to conjoin concern and rescue efforts in many countries of the world. Membership of the IG represents most of the distinct scientific domains, as well as the various data management, archiving, library and history interests which make up the RDA.

Additional links to informative material related to the group i.e. group page, Case statement, working documents etc

http://codata.org/blog/2016/09/, September 2016, "The [CODATA] Data-At-Risk-Task Group in Expansive Mode"

[more to be added]

Meeting objectives

1. To bring all attendees and their colleagues up to speed with Data Rescue as essential support for research.
2. To bring together a list of Cases needing to be tackled (and to quantify the degree of urgency), with examples of the potential benefits for researchers, and to add a budget for comparison purposes.
3. To identify presently unknown ("almost lost") sources of data for research, both privately and institutionally owned.
4. To learn from other IGs of their own specific concerns regarding the rescue of data, and suggestions for proceeding.
5. To prepare a Document setting out the fundamentals of Data Rescue - objectives, challenges and possible solutions - in order to establish the need and activities of data rescue firmly within research spheres worldwide.

Meeting agenda

1). Open Discussion, to compile Cases of non-electronic or early-digital data sets that are known to be at risk. It is important to estimate a cost and effort budget for their digitization, meta-data inclusion and time to solution, transformation to modern electronic formats, and possibly their preservation, so that one can estimate what could be involved for major data-rescue efforts. Headway was made on this topic during a Data Rescue session in P8, but it is important to hear from more in the European community as well.

2). Identifying caches of data that need rescuing, particularly for interdisciplinary uses, partly as a means of advertising the need for, and the activity of, data rescue. Research benefits should be specified. Ideas can be assembled through breakout groups. Volunteers to assist with the associated research will need to be identified.

3). Input from other IGs, such as:
(a) Recognizing the scientific and cultural value of Data Rescue", possibly suitable for a WG.
(b) Specific challenges of meta-data: incorporating - even locating - them for the procedure of digital transformation.
(c) Creating a data archive in a domain that has nothing suitable.
(d) Case Studies of the successful rescue of almost-lost data from both personal and institutional sources.
(e) Identifying essential data-rescue equipment (e.g. tape readers).

4). Open discussion: major challenges to data-rescue activities, models for funding, ideas for advertising, and adopting procedures that will enable the IG to expand and move forward.


Target audience - better referred to as "contributing audience" - will be members of the named IGs, plus any person or groups with knowledge of, or concerns about, data that face oblivion, either through physical destruction (whether accidental or deliberate), or through neglect, with special emphasis on the research that will be the immediate loser. The meeting will invite the presentation of Case Studies that can identify such data and (if possible) an estimated budget for their recovery and transformation to modern electronic formats, and perhaps for their preservation as well. The meeting also hopes to spread and anchor its data-rescue mission worldwide by identifying 'Contacts' in different countries or regions so as to create a lasting network for the exchange of information, ideas and plans. Those with relevant contributions will be invited to contact the meting organizers in advance to secure places in the Agenda.

Group chairs serving as contacts: Elizabeth Griffin

Type of meeting: Working meeting

Remote access:


You can also dial in using your phone.

Access Code: 443-605-789

More phone numbers
Australia: +61 2 8355 1050
Austria: +43 1 2530 22520
Belgium: +32 28 93 7010
Canada: +1 (647) 497-9391
Denmark: +45 43 31 47 82
Finland: +358 942 45 0453
France: +33 170 950 594
Germany: +49 692 5736 7210
Ireland: +353 15 621 586
Italy: +39 0 247 92 13 01
Netherlands: +31 707 709 523
New Zealand: +64 9 909 7888
Norway: +47 21 93 37 51
Spain: +34 932 75 2004
Sweden: +46 853 527 827
Switzerland: +41 225 4599 78
United Kingdom: +44 20 3713 5028
United States: +1 (312) 757-3129