Considerable investments have been made in Europe and worldwide in research data infrastructures. Instead of a general lack of data about data, it has become apparent that the pivotal factor that drastically constrains the use of data is the absence of contextual knowledge about how data was created and how it has been used. The problem is that there may be enough metadata (data about data) but there is too little paradata (data on the processes of its creation and use).
In contrast to the rather straightforward problem of describing the data, a high-risk/high-gain problem to solve, is the lack of comprehensive understanding of what information about the creation and use of research data is needed, and how to capture enough of that information to make the data reusable. How can we avoid the risk that the currently collected vast amounts of research data become useless in the future when it is practically impossible to document and keep everything?
CAPTURE has an empirical focus on archaeological and cultural heritage data, which stands out by its extreme heterogeneity and rapid accumulation. CAPTURE develops an in-depth understanding of how paradata is 1) created, 2) used at the moment, and 3) elicits methods for capturing paradata on the basis of the findings of #1-2. Furthermore, CAPTURE will 4) test the new methods in field trials, and 5) synthesise the findings in a reference model to inform the capturing of paradata and enabling data-intensive research using heterogeneous research data stemming from diverse origins.
Current work in CAPTURE includes an interrogation of the use and applications of the concept paradata, interview and survey studies into the use and reuse of research data in archaeology and much more.