ExSite9 is a tool for optimising fieldwork data description and submission to institutional repositories
Researchers who undertake fieldwork, or capture research data away from their desks, have a new tool to support the quick application of descriptive metadata to the digital data they capture. This tool enables researchers to prepare a package of metadata and data for backup to a data repository or archive for safekeeping and further manipulation.
The tool will enhance the efficiency of in-the-field data processing, help produce rich and accurate data descriptions and reduce any potential for data loss. Researchers using the tool will create a strong platform to continue data and metadata processing after they return from fieldwork.
The aim of this tool is to facilitate better management and documentation of research data close to the time it is created. An easy to use interface will enable researchers to capture metadata that meets their research needs and potentially match the requirements for repository ingestion.
Scholars in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) typically need to organise heterogeneous file-based information from a multitude of sources, including digital cameras, video and sound recording equipment, scanned documents, files from transcription and annotation software, spreadsheets and field notes.
Most research disciplines, and in particular HASS researchers, use annotation (in the broad sense, i.e. structuring relationships between research materials or elements within those materials) as a means of arranging material and recording the connections within and across material being investigated or recorded). It is important to note that “annotation” can have a special meaning and involve a particular methodology in specific research domains, e.g. linguistics.
The broad data capture requirements mean that ExSite9:
• is cross-platform, simple to use and robust
• supports intuitive and timely creation of descriptive metadata provided by the researcher close to the time of data capture
• will wrap data and metadata up in a submission package
• reflects the data structures of target archival or institutional repositories so as to streamline workflow.
Recognising that field research often takes place with either limited or no Internet access, the tool will run offline and output data that can readily be backed up or transferred to a repository.
This project is supported by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS). ANDS is supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Program and the Education Investment Fund (EIF) Super Science Initiative.