Services provided by Data Futures

Data Futures provides services to organizations addressing long-term sustainability issues in research activities that employ digital methods, and to those which simply manage information in digital form. These services fall into two categories:

  • assessment of migration dependencies, strategy development and change management
  • corpus transformation, operation and re-delivery
The first is project-oriented—investigating vulnerabilities of existing infrastructures to evolving technology and security landscapes, as well as providing assistance with planning to address both technical development and organizational logic that affect long-term sustainability. These activities are typically work-package-based, with prior agreement via quotation to estimate scope and timescale and they are charged on a daily basis. It is common for a preliminary evaluation taking approximately one week to deliver initial conclusions and a structure for subsequent activities.

In the second category, technical activities such as corpus transformation and workflow creation comprise development activities while, in contrast, longer-term services such as workflow and corpus operation are addressed by flat-rate subscription to the Data Futures project. Common technical development services include:

  • constructing new corpora by importing assets from a wide range of data structures and media
  • reclaiming assets from legacy infrastructures
  • developing workflows for use by specific scholar, contractor or crowd contributors and administrators
  • connecting with virtual research instruments
  • creating versions of corpora compliant with specific standards or compatible with external ecosystems
  • connecting corpora with external institutions such as libraries (for example to index and provide specific functionality for library patrons)
  • support of third-party internet presentations
These activities are also managed with agreement via a quotation and charged on a daily basis. Experience with large numbers of development projects since 2012 indicates that, for example, most new corpora and re-delivery projects are accomplished within 3-10 person-days, to the stage that a managed-credential internet workflow can be made available to contributors for further development of a corpus and the conduct of new research. The Data Futures day charge rate for project-based and technical development services is currently €780.

Subscription-based services, which include potentially long-term operation of workflows and guaranteed accessibility of corpora are addressed with a flat-rate charge structure. Subscribing projects can use existing freizo infrastructures where geographic boundry and computation & communication performance permit, or they can operate private freizo installations which Data Futures will maintain. In both cases Data Futures provides security, functionality and migration updates—potentially over multiple decades—within the flat-rate subscription charge; which itself depends only on asset volume and not on the number of distinct corpora. Data Futures achieves a high level of 24/7 service through automated fail-over and continuous maintenance of a single technology base, which in turn supports a wide range of project needs through tailored workflows and connectors to third-party infrastructures.

Guidelines for Data Futures subscription-based services are as follows:

  • organizations which employ already-developed contributor, corpus, and research management workflows and which have stable acquisition, export and presentation tools, contribute a €10k annual subscription to Data Futures for flat rate services, including fail-over and email-based support; metadata storage is covered by this subscription but asset storage charges are passed to client organizations where a private freizo installation is not used
  • upon terminating Data Futures support, member organizations receive LTO tape copies of all metadata and binary assets comprising projects—at media plus communication cost only—optionally contract development services may also be specified to deliver projects into external digital humanities ecosystems, commercial asset management systems or specific standards formats, making them independent of Data Futures