The funded project, “Preserving Access to Our Digital Future: Building an International Digital Curation,” is designed to develop an innovative, modular curriculum to train graduate students in the emerging field of digital curation. It seeks to manage digital assets throughout their entire life-cycle of scholarly and scientific interest, and over time for current and future generations of users.
The proposal won in the category of “Programs to Build Institutional Capacity.” It will be a collaboration between SILS and the National Archives and Records Administration, and features an advisory board of 17 international scholars and digital preservation specialists from countries including the United States, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the Netherlands.
The three-year project will fund five Carolina Digital Curation Fellows, who will be a part of the first generation of digital curators. They will enroll in courses created as part of the new curriculum. Experiential components across campus involving the students in actual digital curation work will enhance their learning and insight into important issues and realities and will provide a model that can be implemented on other campuses while meeting the curation needs in these environments.
The issues of digital curation will also be highlighted by two symposia that will establish forums of discussion to the broad library, archives and museum communities. These public events will in April 2007 and spring 2009.
Preservation of access to digital assets stands as one of the grand challenges of the early 21st Century. Such preservation is dependent upon sound digital curation. Digital curation is the active management and preservation of digital resources over the life-cycle of scholarly and scientific interest, and over time for current and future generations of users, explains Helen Tibbo, the project's principal investigator. She acknowledges that while digital curation research has become more prevalent, education of future professionals to work in the field has not.
“In preparing students to work in the 21st century trusted digital repository, wherever that may be found, we seek to take relevant existing coursework and blend it with new materials, content, and courses from other disciplines such as computer science, economics and education as necessary. The resulting curriculum will most likely extend well beyond the existing borders of ILS education and require new configurations of classes and alliances on our campuses.”
Dr. Cal Lee, SILS assistant professor, is another researcher involved in the project along with Project Assistant John Schaeffer.