Monday, 26 March 2012

The AIDA metrics

We've mentioned so far Beagrie's metrics for measuring improvements to the management of academic research data, and the Ithaka metrics for measuring improvements to delivery of content, particularly with regard to the operations of an organisation's business model.

A third possibility is making use of UoL's AIDA toolkit, a desk-based assessment method which has gone through many iterations and possible applications. Over time, we've shown how it could be used for digital assets, records management, and even research data (although admittedly it has never been used in anger in those situations). AIDA doesn't intend to measure assets, but instead measures the capability of the Institution (or the owning Organisation) to preserve its own digital resources.

In July 2011 we produced a detailed reworking of AIDA that could specifically be used for research data. This was part of the JISC-funded IDMP project and the intention was that AIDA could feed into the DCC's online assessment tool, CARDIO. The detail of the reworked AIDA was assisted greatly by the expertise of numerous external consultants, recruited from a wide range of international locations and skillsets. They fine-tuned the wording of the AIDA assessment statements to make it into a benchmarking tool with great potential.

AIDA is predicated on the notion of "continuous improvement", and expresses its benchmarking with an adapted version of the "Five Stages" model which was originally invented and developed at Cornell University by Anne Kenney and Nancy McGovern. It also uses their "Three Legs" framework to ensure that the three mainstays of digital preservation (i.e. Organisation, Technology and Resources) are properly investigated.

We think there may be some scope for applying AIDA to JISC ELO, mainly as an analysis tool or knowledge base for measuring the results of responses to questionnaires and surveys. It could assess broadly whether the Linnean Online service finds itself at a Stage Two or Stage Three. We could subsequently measure whether the enhancements, once implemented, have moved the service forward to a Stage Four or Stage Five.

This could be done with a little tweaking of the wording of the current iteration of AIDA, and through selective / partial application of its benchmarks. We think it would be a good fit for the ELO project strands which discuss Metadata, Licensing, and Preservation Policy - all of which are expressed in the Organisation leg of AIDA. The Resources leg of AIDA could be tweaked to measure improvements in the area of ELO's Revenue Generation. One of the most salient features of AIDA is its flexibility.

Versions of the adapted AIDA toolkit can be found via the project blog, although the improved CARDIO version has not been published as yet.

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