you are not logged in

Navigation

User login

Fact Sheet

This fact sheet is also available in pdf.

Migration to Intermediate XML for Electronic Data (MIXED)

Towards storing your data future proof

Researchers in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences produce a lot of data. Increasingly, they recognise the need to have them electronically stored. Not only for their own needs, but also in order to keep them accessible for other researchers.

Just archiving the data is not enough, however, as many researchers have experienced thus far. If you do not keep up with the speed of ever changing software, sooner or later the data will be useless anyway. What is needed therefore, is a way of archiving the data in which the material is referable and stays accessible for a long time. This calls for the concept of digital preservation: ensuring the survival of archived materials in the race of ever new versions of the software with which they were created.

MIXED is a project to convert data that are now residing in databases and spreadsheets, into formats that are future-proof.

Scope

MIXED is in the process of defining an archival format for databases and spreadsheets in XML. At the same time, MIXED is developing software to convert to and from this archival format. This software is taking the shape of a set of modules that automatically convert tabular data from databases and spreadsheets into archival format and vice versa. We are working on modules for Excel, Oracle, SQL Server, and Access, as a minimum set. The gain of this approach is: as time passes, it is no longer needed to subject the archival data to the process of migration to newer versions of vendor specific software. Only new software modules will be needed. This approach is a smart form of the migration strategy, and could be extended to all kinds of data. The MIXED archival format will in fact be an umbrella, under which it gathers the best (existing) standards for specific kinds of data.

Execution

MIXED is a project of the Dutch data infrastructure organisation DANS. The archival format will be fixed by information experts at DANS, who are in contact with other groups working towards digital preservation, and with reference to relevant (international) standards. With the stage of defining the concepts accomplished, the software developing stage has been entered early 2007. Import and export modules are being engineered, together with a framework that enables data producers and archive personnel to put the modules to work. One of the archives where the software is intended to work as a preservation component: EASY (http://easy.dans.knaw.nl), the archive especially developed by DANS for Dutch researchers to store their data in a practical way.

Another MIXED fact sheet is also available (link).