Who are you?
My name is Ivan Vujić. I work as a Program Manager for two organizations within Microsoft, the Microsoft Development Center in Serbia and Microsoft Research in Cambridge. I am located in Belgrade, Serbia. My job is to ensure that the Microsoft SCAPE team executes on the deliverables and the vision for the project.
Tell us a bit about your role in SCAPE and what SCAPE work you are involved in right now?
I work as a program manager which is a characteristic role in Microsoft. Every development project has a program manager who works with developers and testers to deliver the software. I am essentially managing the process rather than managing the project or people.
I work primarily on coordinating the delivery of Microsoft Research contributions to the SCAPE project. I also communicate with the SCAPE partners on day-to-day work and deliverables that we need to do together.
Since Microsoft Research takes part in all the SCAPE Sub-Projects except Preservation Watch and 9 Work Packages across them, it gets quite busy.
Why is your organisation involved in SCAPE?
We are exploring possibilities for creating preservation platform on top of Microsoft technology stack. Focus is on developing a cloud solution for preservation of office documents. We are creating preservation platform on top of Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
Because Azure offers us scaling up and out capabilities almost out of the box, we were able to utilize existing and create new tools rather fast and make them work at scale. Ultimately we could have virtually any tool, no matter what computing environment is required, running in our cloud and available to users.
What are the biggest challenges in SCAPE as you see it?
Understanding the changing paradigm of what the digital object is, what its representations are and what is required for digital object to be reproduced. Much of the emphasis is on files and characteristics of the digital objects based on file properties. The programs to access these files are often ignored or reduced to rendering applications.
That then leads to limited tradeoff between the utility and the authentic preservation of digital object (e.g. document).
While we think about preserving digital objects in their original form and ensuring authenticity, focus moves away from consumption and the core idea of preservation which is to be reproduced and used in the future scenarios.
What do you think will be the most valuable outcome of SCAPE?
Storage is getting cheaper and organizations, as well as individuals, often decide to buy more storage than to delete their data. This economic factor shapes their attitude. They keep all their digital contents for possible later use, without curating it and ensuring that sufficient information is available about the origin and meaning of data. It is safe to assume that it will be substantially harder to be able to preserve all the data that is generated. But, even if we manage that, what are the chances that the data will be useable without meaning.
So getting anywhere closer to understanding what, how and why to preserve, and enabling the meaning of the data to be captured, automatically or semi-automatically, would be one of the most valuable outcomes.