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uni'wissen 1-2013_ENG

Photos:knee0,RomainQuéré(allFotolia) systems. “Most of them are systems that are rel­ evant for research and research data,” says Schneider. This is particularly true with regard to the future, because preparing the emulators for their role as archiving aids is a much more important task for the researchers than merely saving old data. Ideally, an emulator should be designed to archive all processes without requir­ ing the user to explicitly create documents to do so. Schneider illustrates this by means of a typi­ cal scenario: “A biologist has prepared an exper­ iment and is looking at his sample under the microscope. The microscope is controlled by computer, as are the cameras he is using, and perhaps even the entire experiment. In complex scenarios like these, scientists often forget to document minor details that might yet be impor­ tant for understanding and verifying the findings later on.” On the one side we have the raw data, on the other the publication – and in between a giant black hole. An emulator and a description of the original environment and the processes can serve to fill this gap in research data man­ agement, because they capture the research environment and the process of processing data for posterity: Where exactly was the camera? Did the scientist filter the selection of data? Research data management is becoming ever more important. The German Research Founda­ tion and other research sponsors are starting to attach more importance to strategies for data management and long­term data access in selecting research proposals. Researchers of all disciplines would thus do well to learn more about the topic, and they are invited to call upon Schneider and his team for help in this endeavor. The team is currently investigating the possibili­ Fully documented experiments: Computer programs will document the entire research process in detail, ensuring that future researchers will still be able to reconstruct the experiment. Photo: Thomas Kunz Tips for Archiving Data at Home Use open and standardized formats: JPG is a good choice for images, PDF for text documents. Make regular backups of your hard drive. Keep a copy of your hard drive at a different location. Use cloud providers. CDs are not a secure archiving option – use a USB stick or flash storage media instead. might even be a case of deception,” explains Schneider. It is only possible to answer such questions if the data can be converted back to the format in which they were created. This is the real challenge for designers of emulators, says Klaus Rechert: “Data storage and data protec­ tion are peanuts; making the data useful is much more exciting.” This comes as no surprise when one considers that procedural knowledge is a lot more important for science than pure data. Filling the Gap in Data Management Numerous open­source hardware emulation programs are already available. They make it possible to simulate popular computers of the past like Atari, Commodore, and the first PC and Apple systems. The computer scientists at the IT Services Department of the University of Freiburg are currently concentrating on 40 to 50 Photos:knee0,RomainQuéré(allFotolia) Tips for Archiving Data at HomeTips for Archiving Data at Home Use open and standardized formats: Tips for Archiving Data at Home Use open and standardized formats: JPG is a good choice for images, PDF for text documents. 18