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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

DuraCloud Pilot

ICPSR is one of several organizations which are participating in "Round #2" of the DuraCloud pilot. This phase of the pilot begins in September and runs through the end of the calendar year.

I had missed two earlier webinar sessions on the technology and the pilot process, but read through the slides and listened to the audio today. It really looks like DuraCloud will be an interesting project. In brief it is essentially an abstraction layer on top of multiple cloud storage providers, and also implements a series of services, such as a bit-integrity checker.

For our participation I think we'll use our archival content, but nothing that involves any level of confidentiality. So fair game would be previous (and current) versions of public-use datasets and documentation files (codebooks), and perhaps snapshots of study-level metadata encapsulated in DDI XML.

If the pilot goes well and DuraCloud looks like an attractive service for making additional preservation copies of materials, a future project might be to design a system for encrypting our more sensitive content so that it too could be placed in cloud storage.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rework

I've been reading Rework by the 37signals guys. It's a very fast read, consisting of a series of brief essays grouped into different thematic chapters.

Most of the essays are bracingly irreverent, but I've been finding that many of them contain at least some elements that match my own perceptions having worked at small companies, large companies, and in both the public and private sectors.

Here are a few tidbits from one of my favorites, their essay Meetings are toxic(!).
The worst interruptions of all are meetings. Here's why: ... They require thorough preparation that most people don't have time for. They frequently have agendas so vague that nobody is really sure of the goal...
and
If you decide that you absolutely must get together, try to make your meeting a productive one by sticking to these simple rules: ... Always have a clear agenda. Begin with a specific problem. ...
I've really enjoyed reading this, and would recommend it to almost anyone, but particularly those that work at places that rely heavily on tech.