DiSSCo Flanders closely follows the progress of DiSSCo Prepare and aligns with the objectives of the international DiSSCo infrastructure. The proposed activities aim at mobilizing collections for DiSSCo and bringing them to the expected maturity level to be fully integrated in the international infrastructure. Flemish collections will be properly preserved and accessible for future research applications. The data and media of the collections will be likewise accessible and re-usable for science within the services of the DiSSCo international infrastructure, such as virtual access, digitization and sequencing on demand, and discoverability in the European Loans and Visits System (ELViS). Novel research will be enabled by the federation of collections and their data within Europe (estimation of 1.5 billion items) and beyond through the engagement of DiSSCo at international level with biodiversity and collection oriented key players.

Work packages

Besides the coordination work package, the work program is structured around the following aspects (figure 1):

  • Inventory and assessment of the state of the Flemish collections
  • Compliance with DiSSCo and other recognized best practices and standards
  • Dealing with the legal requirements and recommendations
  • Guaranteeing accessibility and re-use
  • Supporting services: helpdesk and trainings
  • Sustainability and business plan
  • Outreach and communication
WP1 Coordination and Management (+)

This WP will be coordinated by MeiseBG with input from all partners, and will ensure effective management of the project, including the decision making and organization of consortium regular meetings. The liaison at Belgian, European and international levels with DiSSCo and related actors is also part of this WP to guarantee the position of DiSSCo Flanders at decision making level.

WP2 Inventory and assessment of the state of the collections (+)

The goal of this WP is to have a detailed inventory of the existing collections and their state in Flanders expressed in measurable and comparable metrics. The work will build on existing information when available such as the publications around Academic Heritage which will be updated to comply with DiSSCo standards. The collecting of the information will be channeled and supported by staff of MeiseBG. Each partner will have a contact person and staff member(s) to conduct the inventories and to assess the state of the collections in their respective institutions. By the end of year 2 of the project it is the aim to have a detailed report on the inventory of the Flemish collections and their current state. A chapter in the report will be devoted to information available about Flemish collections not yet part of this project for further perspectives of expanding DiSSCo Flanders in the future.

WP3 Compliance with best practices (+)

In order to harmonize the management, and accessibility of the collections in Flanders and to embed them in the DiSSCo infrastructure, they need to comply with best practices as set out by DiSSCo and other key actors in the domain. Based on the outcomes of WP2, this WP3 will define the protocols and workflows best suitable for the Flemish collections to comply with international standards. The deliverables by the end of the project will be in form of guidelines for the collection holders to achieve compliance with DiSSCo for their collections. General principles will be presented to reach the necessary harmonization to arrive at a common infrastructure for collection management for Flanders. These general principles will be followed by practical and detailed domain and collection specific recommendations to guide the partners towards the compliance with DiSSCo best practices. The concluding chapter in the report will address the acuteness of the issues, and the feasibility and costs inherent to the implementation of these protocols, in order to define priorities of actions. The consortium partners will form a network of experts who will formulate the protocols and workflows together to reach a common agreement. They will form several thematic working groups to deal with the multiple facets of the domain.

WP4 Legal aspects (+)

This WP deals with the compliance to regulations and policy recommendations around collections. The evolution of the legislation around collections and their data will be followed up during the whole project to refine both the handling of the physical collections and the associated data through collection management plans. The aim is to formulate guidelines for the partners on complying with legal requirements, including information on the competent authorities or professional legal advisers to contact.

WP5 Accessibility and re-usability of the collections (+)

The collections of the DiSSCo Flanders partners are not all at the same stage of digitization. As their metadata and terms of uses become known and agreed upon, the collections can be gradually registered in the DiSSCo systems to become discoverable and usable. This is a dynamic process and the information can be updated in the systems if more information about a collection becomes available. By the end of the project most Flemish collections will be discoverable within the DiSSCo ELViS system and part of the transnational and virtual access programs of DiSSCo. The local coordinators can decide on the terms of uses, feasibilities and added value of the applications and requests.

WP6 Helpdesk and training (+)

The knowledge around collection management is quite heterogeneous among the Flemish DiSSCo partners. The aim is to build an expert network where we can benefit from each other’s complementary knowledge and lessons learned in building DiSSCo Flanders. Capacity enhancement of the staff active within the collections is essential. Within the WP, the training needs will be identified to develop a training program corresponding to the expectations and gaps identified. Trainings, workshops and onsite visits to expert facilities will be organized. During the project lifetime a helpdesk system will be set up, which aims on the longer run to be embedded in a larger cross infrastructure helpdesk and dispatching questions to internationally existing experts networks in order to guarantee the sustainability of such a helpdesk beyond the duration of the project.

WP7 Sustainability and business plan (+)

DiSSCo is currently in its preparatory phase, which will be followed by a construction, transitional and deployment phase to become a consolidated Landmark infrastructure to run services on a long-term perspective. With this timeline in mind, DiSSCo Flanders has to address its long-term sustainability and produce a business plan. By the end of the project, the aim is to have further identified key roles within the Flemish DiSSCo Consortium to lead and sustain the different components of the infrastructure together with the coordinator. DiSSCo Flanders will have a clear view on how to position itself within the legal model proposed for DiSSCo and will have identified further funding mechanisms to sustain DiSSCo Flanders and its partners.

WP8 Outreach and communication (+)

All partners will collaborate on this WP8 with the support of the communicator of the coordinator. The main aim of this WP is to raise awareness about the importance of the collections, both within and beyond the consortium partners. The outputs of the project and highlights around collections will be communicated via different channels, adapted to the audiences to outreach. Part of the work will also be to disseminate our news and activities in media of third parties.