TIMBUS Partners


From Preserving Data to Preserving Research: Curation of Process and Context

The TIMBUS and Wf4Ever projects are offering a half-day tutorial at the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries (TPDL) 2013,University of Malta, in Valletta, Malta on September 22, 2013.
Grand Hotel Excelsior (Great Siege Road, Floriana, FRN1810, Malta)


In the domain of eScience, investigations are increasingly collaborative. Most scientific and engineering domains benefit from building on the outputs of other research: by sharing information to reason over and data to incorporate in the modeling task at hand. This raises the need for preserving and sharing entire eScience workflows and processes for later reuse. We need to define which information is to be collected, create means to preserve it and approaches to enable and validate the re-execution of a preserved process. This includes and goes beyond preserving the data used in the experiments, as the process underlying its creation and use is essential.

The TIMBUS project and Wf4Ever project team up for this half-day tutorial to provide an introduction to the problem domain and discuss solutions for the curation of eScience processes.


Introductory level




Presentations will be available after the event. 


  • 9:00 – 9:30 Andreas Rauber
    Welcome and House Keeping
    Introduction to the digital preservation of processes and contexts
  • 9:30 – 10:15 Rudolf Mayer
    Session 1: Preservation of Processes in TIMBUS
    Analysing scenarios and challenges
    Presentation of a Context Model for capturing and describing processes
    Discussion of context for a specific case study, partially on paper, partially based on software tools supporting the automatic capture of context
  • 10:15– 10:30 Daniel Garijo
    Session 2a: Describing Experiments via Research Objects
    Introduction to Research Objects
    Definition, benefits and real examples of Research Objects
    Research Object model, aggregation, annotation, attribution and evolution
    Workflow-centric Research Objects, description and provenance
  • 10:30 – 11:00 Coffee Break
  • 11:00 – 11:25 Raul Palma
    Session 2b: Research Object Demo
    Introduction to software architecture and technology
    Portfolio of Research Object tools
  • 11:25– 12:10 Stefan Pröll
    Session 3: Data Citation
    How data is cited today;
    Available technologies for identifiers (ARK, DOI, HANDLE, PURL, URI/URN/URL);
    Approaches and initiatives for citing data (CODATA, Data Cite, OpenAire);
    Challenges and opportunities
  •  12:10-12:30 Andreas Rauber
    Panel discussion


The tutorial is targeted at researchers, publishers and curators in eScience disciplines who want to learn about methods of ensuring the long-term availability of experiments forming the basis of scientific research.


The tutorial participants will understand

  • Motivations and challenges of process preservation
  • Motivations, stakeholders and challenges of making data citable
  • How Data is Cited Today: OECD report on data citability, Google search of data sets, requirements, guidelines, metadata, locators and identifiers, approaches to naming schemes and properties.
  • Available technologies for identifiers: Archival Resource Key (ARK),  Digital Object Identifiers (DOI), Extensible Resource Identifier (XRI), HANDLE, Life Science ID (LSID),    Object Identifiers (OID), Persistent Uniform Resource Locators (PURL), URI/URN/URL, Universally Unique Identifier  (UUID)
  • Approaches and Initiatives for citing data: CODATA, Data Cite, OpenAire, challenges and opportunities: granularity, scalability, complexity and evolving data sets current research questions
  • Ontologies needed to capture research objects: Core Ontology of the RO family of vocabularies, workflow centric ROs, provenance traces, life cycle of research objects.
  • Wf4Ever Toolkit / technological infrastructure for the preservation and efficient retrieval and reuse of scientific workflows: software architecture, functionalities, software interfaces to functionalities, reference implementation as services and clients:

- Collect, manage and preserve aggregations of scientific workflows and related objects and annotations

- Workflow sharing through a social website

- Execution of workflows

- Testing completeness, execution, repeatability and other desired quality features

- Testing the ability of a Research Object to achieve its original purpose after changes to its resources.

- Recommendations of relevant users, Research Objects and their aggregated resources

- Converting workflows into Research Objects

- Search for workflows by input parameters or frequency of use

- Collaborative environment

- Access and use of research objects and aggregated resources.

- Synchronization with remote repositories

- Visualization of correlation between similar objects

  • TIMBUS context model and tools to semi-automatically capture the relevant context of a business process for preservation

- The scope of context regarding business process preservation - technology, application and business context, aligned with enterprise architecture

- The context meta-model, with domain independent and domain specific aspects

- Demonstration of a context model instance of example processes (in the eScience domain)

- Tools to automatically capture some parts of the context (software dependencies, data formats, licenses, ...)

- Outlook on reasoning and preservation planning, based on the context model


Daniel Garijo is a PhD student in the Ontology Engineering Group at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. His research activities focus on e-Science and the Semantic Web, specifically on how to increase the understandability of scientific workflows using provenance and metadata. He is a member of the W3C Provenance Working Group, and he is currently part of the Wf4Ever project.

Rudolf Mayer is a researcher at Secure Business Austria, as well as the Department of Software Technology and Interactive Systems at the Vienna University of Technology. His research interests cover digital preservation, specifically the preservation of processes, information retrieval (specifically on text documents and music), data analysis and machine learning. He has many years of lecturing experience in these subjects. He has been involved in the DELOS and PLANETS projects, and currently works on digital preservation aspects in the FP7 projects APARSEN and TIMBUS.

Raul Palma is a researcher at Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center (PSNC). His research interests cover digital preservation, particularly of scientific methods, provenance and evolution of digital artifacts, ontology engineering and distributed technologies. He has participated in several EU projects, including the Network of Excellence Knowledge Web, NeOn, e-Lico and WF4Ever. He has many years of lecturing experience in related topics, both at the university and private institutions. He has authored or co-authored several vocabularies and ontologies, such as the Research Object evolution Ontology, Ontology Metadata Vocabulary (OMV) and different extensions for describing ontologies and related resources, models for collaborative ontology construction and digital multimedia repositories

Stefan Pröll is a researcher at SBA Research. His primary research focus lies on digital preservation, especially on security aspects of digital archives, including authenticity and provenance of digital objects. Further areas of interest are databases and data citation. Currently he is working on FP7 projects APARSEN and TIMBUS focusing on security and provenance related topics. Before he joined SBA in April 2011, he was working in international organizations in the area of Web development, Linux server and database administration.

Andreas Rauber is Associate Professor at the Department of Software Technology and Interactive Systems at the Vienna University of Technology. He is involved in several research projects in the field of Digital Libraries, focusing on the organization and exploration of large information spaces, as well as Web archiving and digital preservation. His research interests cover the broad scope of digital libraries, including specifically text and music information retrieval and organization, information visualization, as well as data analysis and neural computation. He has been involved in numerous initiatives in the area of digital preservation (DELOS, DPE, Planets, SCAPE, TIMBUS, APARSEN). He has been lecturing extensively on this subject at different universities, as part of the DELOS and nestor summer schools on digital preservation, as well as during a range of training events on digital preservation.