The preservation and curation of digital objects begins at the time of the creation. Life-cycle management involves a wide variety of tasks and skills, from applying appropriate metadata to issues of access and reuse, transformation and migration. (What is Digital Curation?)
For the vast majority of humanities scholars, curation has been the preserve of librarians, archivists, and museum curators. But the increasing involvement of humanities scholars in the creation of digital objects, from the creation of texts encoded in TEI, to the development of large datasets suitable for datamining, to the creation of audio/video corpora, puts a new onus on humanities scholars to create durable data.
In a survey of a majority of the MA degrees awarded in digital humanities,1 none offered a course/module that specifically focused on curation/preservation. More than one of University College London’s courses/modules, as well as one at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (‘Creating Digital Humanities Artefacts’) and Trinity College Dublin (‘Theory and Practice of Digital Humanities’) contains elements of digital curation within modules with a wider pedagogic focus.
Equally, much shorter-term training in the digital humanities often overlooks digital curation as an area of core curriculum. Yet, as digital humanists increasingly find themselves working in positions from alt-ac roles within a wide variety of memory institutions, to the creators of digital objects as part of a more traditional scholarly profile, we might do well to consider integrating digital curation more centrally in the curriculum. This gap in educational/training courses is being investigated by a pan-European project, Digital Curator Vocational Education Europe (DigCurV). DigCurV is a project funded by the European Commission’s Leonardo da Vinci Lifelong Learning programme to establish a curriculum framework for vocational training in digital curation, http://www.digcur-education.org/; with participants in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Italy, and Lithuania.
In order to inform development of the framework, DigCurV has been carrying out a variety of activities in the library, museum, archive and cultural heritage sector. Two surveys have been conducted, the first focused on training or competence centres to gather information about training opportunities, while the second examined the training needs of practitioners. Focus groups took place in Autumn 2011 in Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania and the United Kingdom in order to learn more about the skills and competences required of those working (in the broadest terms) in digital curation.
Through research carried out by DigCurV, it has become clear that many of the skills and core competences required of people working in digital curation/preservation map well onto areas traditionally covered in digital humanities degree/training courses. Preliminary DigCurV findings enrich and expand our thinking about what competences are considered core to a digital humanities curriculum. For example, training on how to promote websites using social media and digital marketing strategies emerged as an important part of the digital lifecycle management process. Many of the technical skills required, such as proficiency in XML and TEI and a knowledge and understanding of standards, best practice and the latest technologies, also proved to be a shared competences. Project management skills play an important role in this field as people dealing with digital objects often find themselves influencing attitudes about technology and encouraging digital activities to be seen as core institutional activities.
DigCurV found that many of the skills and core competences requiring training are not strictly in the realm of ‘digital curation’ (ie object creation and preservation), but also deal with the management of objects within an institution, social media savvy, ability to manage organisational change, and cross-disciplinary communication skills. These findings should also expand our ideas of what digital humanities training/education is.
Thus the curriculum framework being developed by DigCurV might also be useful within a digital humanities context. Due to the high degree of interdisciplinarity between digital curation and digital humanities, a case can be made for more emphasis on digital curation in digital humanities curricula. This poster will explore recent findings of the DigCurV network in light of the DH curricula.
Bermès, E., and L. Fauduet (2011). The Human Face of Digital Preservation: Organizational and Staff Challenges, and Initiatives at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The International Journal of Digital Curation 6(1) ,http://ijdc.net/index.php/ijdc/article/view/175.
Fino-Radin, B. (2011). Keeping it Online, http://rhizome.org/editorial/2011/aug/5/keeping-it-online/.
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Long, C. (2011). Developing and Implementing a Master of Archival Studies Program: A Collaborative Effort of a State University, a State Archive, and the National Archives and Records Administration. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 52(2).
Spiro, L. (2011). Knowing and Doing: Understanding the Digital Humanities Curriculum. Paper presented at the DH 2011. See blogpost for further information: http://digitalscholarship.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/making-sense-of-134-dh-syllabi-dh-2011-presentation/.
Stanton, J. M. Y. Kim, M. Oakleaf, R. D. Lankes, P. Gandel, D. Cogburn, and E. D. Liddy (2011). Education for eScience Professionals: Job Analysis, Curriculum Guidance, and Program Considerations. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 52(2).
Tibbo, H. R., C. Hank, Ch. A. Lee, and R. Clemens, eds. (2009). Digital Curation: Practice, Promise & Prospects. Proceedings for DigCurr2 (2009),http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/proceedings-of-digccurr2009-digital-curation-practice-promise-and-prospects/4994819.
‘What is Digital Curation?’ Digital Curation Centre. http://www.dcc.ac.uk/digital-curation/what-digital-curation.
1.King’s College London, University College London, Trinity College Dublin, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, University of Alberta, Loyola University.