In Repositories we trust …!

NeDICC in collaboration with Science Forum South Africa hosted a workshop on 5 December 2017 at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria on certification for trusted digital repositories, titled “In Repositories we trust…!

The workshop was presented by presented by Mr Wim Hugo, Chief Data and Information Officer, SAEON, and was attended by 36 representatives from institutions across South Africa, which included ASSAf, CSIR, Eskom Kriel Power Station, the Heritage Foundation, HSRC, NECSA, Sefako Mekgato University, Stellenbosch University, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria, UNISA, University of the Western Cape, Vaal University of Technology, the University of the Witwatersrand, and even a representative from the Limpopo Office of the Premier.

Mr Niklas Zimmer (UCT), the current Chair of NeDICC, welcomed attendees and kicked off the workshop with an introduction on why certification for repositories may be important, and then introduced Mr Hugo.


The first session included an overview of what certification is, as well as certification requirements. Mr Hugo explained that the certification for WDS, Data Seal of Approval and Core Trust Seal of Approval had merged. He also discussed matters such as discoverability, mature data management, re-usability, metadata, legal interoperability, different types of users (e.g. researchers, data centres, institutions, and the public), domain-specific guidance, and the minimum set of documentation for certification. He further mentioned that the certification is valid for three (3) years, after which the repository needs to be re-assessed. Each repository is evaluated by two reviewers: either members of the Core Trust Seal Board, or by appointed panel members.




In the sessions that followed, the attendees were divided into four (4) facilitated discussion groups groups. Mr Hugo systematically worked through all of The Core Trust Seal requirements.


Each group then had to identify an example, and evaluate the example against each requirement, discussing it amongst themselves and then giving feedback to the entire group. This was in turn followed by the expert input and further insights from Mr Hugo. Session 2 covered CoreTrustSeal Requirements 1-6, focusing on Organisational Infrastructure; Session 3 Requirements 7-14 (Digital Object Management), and Session 4 Requirements 15-16, (Software and hardware infrastructure).

The workshop proved to be a great success, and was of much value to all attendees. It was unanimously felt that the knowledge and insights gained will be of immense value in the data curation community in South Africa. Most attendees realized that there is still a lot of work to be done, and that the CoreTrustSeal requirements will assist the community to address the gaps in their various organisational initiatives (including policies, staff roles, workflows, as well as hard- and software installations), that would hinder the certification of their repositories. All attendees left with a wide range of goals to work towards.

<Workshop programme and material link to;

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