29. marraskuuta 2018

Being trustworthy and FAIR requires people, processes, technologies and collaboration

The Implementation Roadmap for the European Science Cloud (EOSC) puts focus on research data adhering to the FAIR principles of being findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. These are all excellent goals and the social science data archive community has been promoting similar ideas since at least the 1970's. We know that managing, disseminating and preserving digital data for the long term is neither simple nor straightforward. Research data will not become nor stay FAIR by magic. We need skilled people, transparent processes, interoperable technologies and collaboration to build, operate and maintain research data infrastructures.

A key theme in digital preservation and thus in all FSD's functions is trust. Data subjects need to be able to trust that data about them are handled in an appropriate way. Researchers need to have trust that FSD manages their data according to the agreements. FSD’s users need to be able to trust that they get access to reliable versions of data from FSD and that, for example, all changes made to the deposited datasets are documented. In short, FSD needs to be a trusted digital repository.

Shaping the trust landscape

Luckily, FSD is not alone. In addition to collaborating in national networks, FSD is the Finnish Service Provider for CESSDA ERIC (Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives). CESSDA requires that all its Service Providers adhere to the trustworthy digital repository requirements set by the CoreTrustSeal. In August 2017, FSD acquired the new CTS certification among the first CESSDA Service Providers.

FSD has been active in CESSDA's trust work for several years and currently I am a member of the CESSDA Trust Working Group. The Group offers guidance and support to CESSDA members in understanding and acquiring the CoreTrustSeal and maintains an overview of the trust landscape including certification standards and the emergence of the FAIR data principles and the requirements of the EOSC. I am also a member of the CoreTrustSeal Board 2018–2021. These collaborations are essential for strengthening FSD's expertise. They also provide unique insights to, and possibilities to be involved in, shaping the trust landscape.

Today is the World Digital Preservation Day. It brings together the digital preservation community to celebrate the collections preserved, the access maintained and the understanding fostered by preserving digital materials. I want to take this opportunity to celebrate FSD's current and forthcoming collaborations and especially our staff's great expertise and dedication. As the Chair of the CESSDA Trust Group Herve L’Hours has written: Technologies can be consolidated, and processes automated, but collection, creation, curation and research use/reuse of data is ultimately dependent on the domain and disciplinary expertise of the humans who know them best. (L'Hours 2018)

Happy Digital Preservation!

FSD’s work in CESSDA Trust Group and CoreTrustSeal are supported by CESSDA Trust Work Plan project and the Active FSD for CESSDA project funded by the Academy of Finland.

More information:

» Follow #WDPD2018 on Twitter
» CESSDA Trust Working Group
» CoreTrustSeal Board 2018-2021

Mari Kleemola
Development Manager
firstname.surname [at] uta.fi

1. marraskuuta 2018

New user-friendly website for FSD

Dear reader, it is very much possible that you’re reading this after noticing that our website has been given a facelift or after reading an announcement about it.

The previous FSD website was launched over six years ago, and a lot has changed in the way people browse the web since. The former site was not very suitable for use on mobile, or even tablet, screens. Even though nothing was broken per se, the site wasn’t exactly optimised for the mobile visitor. Unlike now. We have designed our new site with accessibility in mind, and it scales responsively to different types of screens.

Of course, the website overhaul had other objectives as well. Not getting caught up in the old ways was one of them. In six years, our services have also changed a lot, and we want to bring them forward in a new way. The starting point of the redesign was that all our user groups should find the services or information they need quickly and effortlessly.

The appearance has also changed. Now everything is a bit bigger and more colourful. Our website is our most important customer service channel and our business card as well as a meeting point for data depositors and users.

Content grouping has changed

Navigating the site is now done mainly via a “mega menu” that replaces the traditional sitemap and is always accessible, regardless of which page the user is currently viewing. We hope that this will facilitate finding the relevant contents if the URLs of pages have changed. However, we primarily aim to redirect the user to the right address automatically.

Most of the content regarding datasets directly has been moved to the Aila Data Service. The new site will include instructions on searching and using research data, introductions of featured datasets and theme pages as well as links to the most recent datasets on Aila.

Everything is new under the hood

Improvements on the site are not only cosmetic. With our partner Redflow Inc., we have developed a modern content management system, based on Hugo, for generating static pages. The CMS will be used for maintaining the FSD website and publishing new content. We wanted a secure solution that we could fine-tune to meet our needs and to fit seamlessly in with our development environment.

In the future, our other services will also receive the new look. For now, many of the services offered by FSD, such as Aila, Data Management Guidelines and Research Methods Web Resource MOTV, will have the old interface. The Swedish version of the website will receive more content in the coming weeks.

A lot of work has been done for the new website, but we have surely missed something. Maybe we have forgotten to move some content to the new page. Perhaps the interface works illogically on some browsers. It might be that a link takes you to the wrong place or nowhere at all. We will be glad to receive any feedback regarding the new site (tuki.fsd at uta.fi)!

Tuomas J. Alaterä
IT Services Specialist
firstname.surname [at] uta.fi

This blog post is available also in Finnish:
Tietoarkistolle käyttäjä- ja mobiiliystävälliset uudet verkkosivut.