Collections as Data IG Charter (transitioning from Archives and Records Professionals for Research Data IG)

20 Feb 2024

Collections as Data IG Charter (transitioning from Archives and Records Professionals for Research Data IG)


This group is aimed at collections professionals such as archivists, librarians, records managers and museum curators, as well as related professions such as IT professionals, knowledge scientists, and those involved in standards development, who serve in a range of critical roles: as experts in ensuring access, preservation, and reuse of digital records, objects, data, and collections; as provocateurs for good collections curation practices; and as advocates for the construction of responsible and sustainable infrastructures for information sharing. As articulated in the Vancouver Statement on Collections as Data, “this [collections] stewardship role only grows in importance as artificial intelligence applications, trained on vast amounts of data, including collections as data, impact our lives ever more pervasively.” We recognise that there is increasing pressure on memory institutions to establish good models for responsible and culturally sensitive development of data resources while also navigating the challenges and opportunities provided by new technologies (Vancouver Statement, Principles 2, 4, 9-11), and this is not work that can be easily done in silos. This group seeks to provide a space for examining alignments in values, policy, and practice in collections work, broadly imagined, encouraging a vibrant exchange of expertise across collecting areas and domains of practice.

The proposed IG is explicitly aligned with RDA’s goal to build social bridges that enable the open and FAIR sharing of data. Specifically, the IG will build relationships among professionals who are committed to developing data sharing frameworks and practices that are able to withstand the various challenges introduced by the passage of time: technological obsolescence, loss of contextual understanding of data, and resource constraints that make it impractical to commit to preserving all data forever. By creating a space for collections professionals and data curators to come together, this IG has the potential to act as a launching pad for RDA Working Groups that will produce recommendations addressing these fundamental challenges to research data sharing, specifically by bringing preservation, arrangement and description, and appraisal methodologies from the cultural heritage and information management sectors to the wider RDA community. This IG also aims to bring the skills and competencies which have long existed in memory institutions into the wider RDA community, many of whom will not be aware of this existing expertise.

Download the full Charter and use the comment box below for your comments, questions and suggestions. 



Review period start: 
Tuesday, 20 February, 2024 to Wednesday, 20 March, 2024
Documents : 
  • Angus Whyte's picture

    Author: Angus Whyte

    Date: 20 Mar, 2024

    The Horizon Europe project Skills4EOSC endorses the case statement and welcomes the formation of the Collections as Data IG. The main objective of Skills4EOSC is to close gaps in relation to Open Science competences, particularly the lack of expertise and clear definition of data professional profiles and corresponding career paths.

    Task 5.5 of Skills4EOSC is led by Natural History Museum Vienna, working with the Digital Curation Centre to co-design training courses that develop the skills needed to digitise and FAIRify collections. This task includes piloting courses for Digital Collections Curators about standards to curate taxonomic, geographic, or provenance data, to visualise data and realise sustainable repositories. The courses are being developed using the project’s FAIR-by-Design methodology, and will be based on a ‘Minimum Viable Skillset’ for Digital Collections Curators.

    Collections data and its curation has much in common with the stewardship of research data, with similar needs, challenges, and good practices. Nevertheless Skills4EOSC recognizes that collections and their curators play a distinctive role in realizing the benefits of Open Science for society.  We therefore see a strong connection with the IG’s objectives, especially for building dialogue between evolving RDM and Open Science professional roles and sharing knowledge of the workflows needed to support collections as data.

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