Interview with a SCAPEr – Catherine Jones

Interview with a SCAPEr – Catherine Jones

Who are you?

Catherine Jones, STFC I am Catherine Jones. I am an Information Systems Project Manager in the Scientific    Computing Department at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in the UK. 

STFC is one of the UK seven Research Councils and provides both funding for research in Astronomy, Particle and Nuclear Physics and Space Science and large scale scientific Facilities (

Your role in SCAPE?

I am the STFC project manager responsible for planning and coordinating all STFC activities on SCAPE. STFC contributes in four main areas in SCAPE: we lead the work in the Research Data Testbed, we build tools for preserving research data, we are part of the policy representation discussions and we lead work in developing guidelines for best practices in preservation of scientific data in the context of SCAPE work.

At the moment I am working on Policy Representation. There are two aims of this activity. Firstly to identify and provide guidance on which topics need to be considered and addressed within preservation policy for a whole organization or a particular content/collection to assist those people who need to write policy in this area. The second is to produce a set of machine understandable statements and potentially actionable statements which can be used by the PLATO planning tool and the SCOUT watch tool. I am working on describing a process to enable this translation of natural language policy into the machine understandable statements, together with a sample set. This is a challenge as humans don’t need every implicit fact made explicit as computers do!

Why is your organisation involved in SCAPE?

STFC is publically funded and hence the data produced and managed here should be preserved for the long term. This data forms part of the Record of Science alongside scholarly articles. By participating in the SCAPE project with partners across other sectors we can share experience and practice.

What are the biggest challenges in SCAPE as you see it?

A challenge that the Research Data Testbed is starting to consider and work on is the preservation of the context for research data. For many types of research data it is not enough to preserve the object to enable use/reuse in the future, other additional pieces of information also need to be preserved, or linked to in a permanent way. This is a challenge for the creation of these links without taking into consideration how these may be preserved over the longer term.

What do you think will be the most valuable outcome of SCAPE?

I think that the work done on the watch tool SCOUT which will enable certain conditions to be monitored in the wider environment is a welcome addition to the tools and infrastructure available for those concerned with digital preservation. To be able to use SCOUT effectively, then a particular organization will have considered and decided on the preservation objectives and underpinning policy, thus helping to ensure that digital objects are kept and hopefully functionally preserved for future use.

Contact information:

[email protected]
Skype handle: cm_j0nes


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