Data Seal of Approval

Article dated: 25 February 2009

In late January 2009, Matthew Woollard, Associate Director and Head of Digital Preservation and Research, attended the inaugural board meeting for the Data Seal of Approval (DSA), in The Hague. The DSA is a short series of guidelines which lays out the responsibilities of data creators, data archivists and data users, and allows organisations responsible for the curation of data to self-assess themselves against the guidelines. It is designed as a building block towards more detailed assessment and certification in digital preservation. The DSA was originally created for research data in The Netherlands but has been shown to have greater applicability across the data archiving world.

The DSA is designed for all types of data repository and not just for the social sciences. Consequently the board is made up of representatives from: Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) - Netherlands, Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) - USA, UKDA - UK representing (mainly) the social sciences and humanities; the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (MPI), Network of Expertise in Long-term STOrage of Digital Resources (NESTOR) at the German National Library, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the Centre Informatique National de l’Enseignement Supérieur (CINES) representing other domain areas and digital object types.

At the inaugural meeting of the board, hosted by DANS - the DSA’s creators, the wording of the guidelines were refined and discussion focused on the best methods of taking the DSA forward. DANS also hosted, on the following day, a workshop on trusted digital archives for the social sciences and humanities where the DSA was discussed alongside other certification tools for trusted digital repositories. Details of the workshop, and some of the implications for the three major EU infrastructure projects of Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA), Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure (CLARIN) and Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) are available.