Preservation of Research Data (SHARD)

Data or information gathered in the course of research all over the world is increasingly electronic. The data itself is often gathered in the course of a project and projects, by their very nature have a limited lifespan. The data gathered during the course of research however, will have an enduring value beyond the primary aims of the project. This can include validation and verification of your research as well as the potential secondary uses of the data. This can mean that the data gathered for these research projects can often be at risk unless some consideration is given to their continued access over time. There is a growing awareness of the vulnerability of this valuable resource due to digital obsolescence and also from the fragilities inherent to digital media which put electronic data at risk.  Legacy data and current data are currently at risk of being lost forever unless action is taken by researchers when gathering and managing their data. 

Capacity building in the research community relating to digital preservation is recognised as one crucial way of addressing some of these issues. It is believed that embedding digital preservation issues into existing methods of data creation will help enable best practice and thus help prevent data loss.

The SHARD project will identify the training needs of the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) stakeholders through surveys and assessments of existing legacy research data, existing training at the IHR.  This information gathered will be contained in a knowledge base.  The next phase sees the creation of training materials, relating to digital preservation for the historical research community at IHR, and aims to embed these materials within existing postgraduate training material held at IHR. The materials will be specifically designed for ease of accessibility and pitched at the appropriate level.  The training will be delivered face to face as well as in the form of e-learning materials which can be shared, used and adapted by other educational Institutes and made applicable to a range of academic disciplines. The results will be validated by IHR's Research Training Group.

The overarching aims of the SHARD project are to embed best practice concerning preservation and research data targeting the IHR community as well as the University of London through the means of training. This training material will be embedded with the existing training operated by IHR.  Check in here for updates about the project!

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