The Data Futures project is based in the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture. It was established at the beginning of 2012 to focus on factors affecting long-term accessibility of research data and in particular on the growing recognition of the need to distinguish context from object metadata in digital collections constructed for scholarly research.
Now comprising a multi-disciplinary team of computer scientists and theorists in an extended group of universities and companies, Data Futures has developed new software to improve the sustainability of digital humanities projects. Its freizo migration platform enables collections to be made portable and re-delivered using contemporary technologies instead of accreting maintenance overheads and ultimately risking loss as funding priorities change and institutions mutate. Collaborations with publishers and universities including Leuphana and Princeton are using freizo to develop new future-proof research projects, while work with Arts Council England's Arts on Film Archive and the Heidelberg and University of Westminster's Combined China Poster Collection are testing strategies for reclaiming projects that have become stranded on legacy technologies.
Data Futures also works on methods for assessment of digital collection vulnerabilities and examines the wider landscape of institutional logics and politics that affect the evolution and application of standards for collection description and sustainability.