a business case for digital curation

Being a reformed academic of sorts, I get a little starry-eyed when things go “meta” – ie, whenever I observe a discussion about specific events or topics I tend to look for universal patterns.  Sometimes it’s useful, other times I end up annoying people, including myself.

Lately I have been reading and re-reading “Too Big To Know” (http://www.toobigtoknow.com/), an excellent book by David Weinberger on re-thinking the definition of knowledge in a networked age.  I also read his blog, and the most recent posting http://www.toobigtoknow.com/2012/08/11/2b2k-knowledges-typeface/ made me laugh-out-loud. Evidently, typeface impacts credibility http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/08/hear-all-ye-people-hearken-o-earth/, and his conclusion was that “your brain is not your friend”.  I can appreciate that.

Further down the page, however, something caught my eye that I’ll have to investigate more deeply. I have been an avid follower of Jim Gray’s calls to action from The Fourth Paradigm http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/collaboration/fourthparadigm/, a book that discusses the future of data-intensive scientific discovery.  Curation, curation, curation… if we don’t figure out how to store and index data effectively AND for the long-term, then we suffer diminishing returns in a knowledge-driven and networked society.

I work for Splunk, and occasionally talk about Splunk in public ways beyond this blog, and there is a nagging question at the back of my mind.  Splunk is great at ingesting and making sense of large amounts of unstructured data, but what about curation?  What is the long-term plan?

Towards the end of Weinberger’s July 19th blog post http://www.toobigtoknow.com/2012/07/19/2b2keimdigital-curation/, he makes a list of his take-aways from “Symposium on Digital Curation in the Era of Big Data”, with the final one being “Digital curation and long-term archiving need a business case.”  I could not agree more.  As Splunk grows, I believe it can play a key role in fulfilling the imperative suggested by the fourth paradigm as well as Weinberger’s suggestion about the need for a business case for digital curation and long-term archiving.

Now I just need to figure out a way to display my future blog posts in the font “Baskerville”…

Rob Reed

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