Monday 1 March 2010

DCC: A new phase, a new perspective, a new Director

As the DCC begins its third phase today, I am delighted to announce the appointment of our new Director, Kevin Ashley, who will succeed me upon my retirement in April 2010.

Kevin Ashley has been Head of Digital Archives at the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC) since 1997, during which time his multi-disciplinary group has provided services related to the preservation and reusability of digital resources on behalf of other organisations, as well as conducting research, development and training. The group has operated the National Digital Archive of Datasets for The National Archives of the UK for over twelve years, delivering customised digital repository services to a range of organisations. As a member of the JISC's Infrastructure and Resources Committee, the Advisory Council for ERPANET, plus several advisory boards for data and archives projects and services, Kevin has contributed widely to the research information community. As a firm and trusted proponent of the DCC we look forward to his energetic leadership in this new phase of our evolution.

So far so press release. But I'd go further. I can't tell you how pleased I am with this appointment. As some readers will know, I have personally lobbied all and any potential candidates for this post since before I officially announced I was leaving. I understand we had some excellent candidates (I wasn't directly involved), more than one of whom might have made an excellent Director. But I'm particularly pleased at Kevin's appointment for several reasons: he is well engaged in the community including good connections with JISC, our major funder), he's tough enough to keep this tricky collaboration thing going, he has an excellent technical understanding, and he has great experience of actually managing this stuff in all its crusty awfulness. I particularly remember his discussion (on a visit to the Edinburgh Informatics Database Group) about issues like how best to deal with an archived dataset where they came across the characters "five" in a field defined as numeric! You can make it work or make it a record but not both...

So congratulations Kevin, and good luck!

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