Moving Archival Practices Upstream: An Exploration of the Life Cycle of Ecological Sensing Data in Collaborative Field Research

  • Jullian C. Wallis
  • Christine L. Borgman
  • Matthew S. Mayernik
  • Alberto Pepe

Abstract

The success of eScience research depends not only upon effective collaboration between scientists and technologists but also upon the active involvement of data archivists. Archivists rarely receive scientific data until findings are published, by which time important information about their origins, context, and provenance may be lost. Research reported here addresses the life cycle of data from collaborative ecological research with embedded networked sensing technologies. A better understanding of these processes will enable archivists to participate in earlier stages of the life cycle and to improve curation of these types of scientific data. Evidence from our interview study and field research yields a nine-stage life cycle. Among the findings are the cumulative effect of decisions made at each stage of the life cycle; the balance of decision-making between scientific and technology research partners; and the loss of certain types of data that may be essential to later interpretation.
Published
02-Dec-2008
Section
Papers (Peer-reviewed)