Notes on APARSEN MegaMeeting Thursday 13 November 2014


  • Simon Lambert
  • David Giaretta
  • Melanie Imming
  • Katarina Haage
  • Eefke Smit
  • Gerald Jäschke
  • Orit Edelstein
  • Christoph Bruch
  • Patricia Herterich
  • Barbara Bazzanella
  • Daria Sas
  • Andreas Hundsdörfer
  • Yannis Tzitzikas
  • Holger Brocks
  • Sharon McMeekin
  • Kirnn Kaur
  • Suenje Dallmeier-Tiessen
  • Hans Pfeiffenberger
  • Maurizio Lunghi

This meeting was devoted to options for the Centre of Excellence, building on the discussion at the General Assembly meeting. Simon explained that we need to present in the final deliverable something that is a credible "blueprint" for what will last beyond the end of the APARSEN project. One positive thing we have is the underpinning of the common vision. Simon cited the email circulated by René van Horik (DANS) stating that the CoE could be a potential outlet for services offered by an organisation to a range of customers.

David noted that the previous deliverable D11.4 included tables of information on partners' offerings. These are a good selection but there is a missing level of detail. If we think from the point of view of a systems integrator then the question is whether there is enough information to make sensible recommendations; if not then more interactions would be needed to refine the selection. So we should try to get enough information to make a recommendation for a solution that is likely to work.

Christoph noted that the General Assembly did not demonstrate any enthusiasm for a formal organisation as a successor of APARSEN. There is a willingness and interest in continued cooperation but a formal CoE might not be the ideal structure. An alternative, which did meet with positive reactions at the GA meeting, is to continue through the mechanisms of the RDA - so a major decision is whether to frame the CoE as something independent or as part of the RDA.

David agreed; the world has moved on since the start of the project and the RDA is an attractive vehicle for taking things further. But we must think carefully about delivering something that is acceptable to the reviewers and PO.

Yannis asked, if there is an intention for some kind of independent CoE, what will be the status of organisations that are not currently members of the APA. He could envisage the CoE offering services, training etc. and acting as a mediator to connect customers to providers. One model would be that providers could join the organisation but have free membership until their first "sale".

David emphasized that the organisation has to be more open; it should be more than the current APA, and a looser association. We can even say that formal membership is simply not the issue; we should focus on how benefits can flow from the combined expertise/experience of APARSEN members and beyond.

Simon recognised the value of RDA but wondered whether some kind of separate association is nonetheless needed. The RDA brings people together but does not provide solutions or implementations directly.

Christoph agreed that the RDA is not the ideal structure to provide services. However, the GA expressed the view that after the project the best route is cooperation through RDA. At the moment APARSEN is not realistically in a condition to continue as an organisation with a new label. We do not want to limit those who want to cooperate, but we must not create the impression that "APARSEN" will go on as a self-supporting entity.

David agreed that there were two possibilities: something formal with sign-up agreements, or something without any contractual basis but suited to a systems integration/solution provider mechanism - and only the latter is achievable given the constraints.

Within RDA there is an Interest Group on Preservation e-Infrastructure and another on Active Data Management Plans. It would make sense for everyone to join the Preservation e-Infrastructure IG. We should also present in the deliverable the partners' involvement in RDA. Hans noted that we can argue in the deliverable that by going into the RDA IG, we will be taking the discussion to a global audience.

Kirnn said that there are a number of RDA IGs that could be relevant - perhaps we could provide details of how the the "outputs" of the CoE map to each.

Katarina Haage said she would attend the first German RDA meeting next week and will see if they have an IG that the CoE could fit into.

Hans wondered about the focus of RDA on research data - does this exclude other types of digital objects such as archives? In fact there are IGs covering wider areas such as multimedia and research libraries.

Hans observed that few organisations can claim long-term survibaility. The RDA could fail - it's just a business risk. In his view any kind of separate entity that we set up would have little chance of long-term survival.

We should describe in the deliverable how our APARSEN activities have contributed to RDA. There are good stories to tell about successes of APARSEN.


  • The main emphasis of the continuation of APARSEN will be through the RDA. The influence of APARSEN members on relevant groups in the RDA will be highlighted.
  • This does not exclude cooperation between partners who want to work together in other ways, or to perform a systems integration/solutions provider function underpinned by the common vision.
  • The table of offerings of services etc. should be completed and filled in with more detail.
  • However we will not promise a "formal" organisation as the sustainable outcome of APARSEN.
  • The deliverable should be ready for internal circulation and review by the beginning of December.

-- SimonLambert - 2014-11-13

Topic revision: r1 - 2014-11-13 - SimonLambert
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