Certificate in Digital Curation

This is a graduate certificate to prepare professionals for the curation of digital collections. Upon completion of the course of study, students should have an understanding of the information technology considerations associated with digital information; recognize and be able to articulate the requirements for professionally-responsible curation of digital information; and be able to apply this knowledge to practical digital curation situations. Graduates will find careers in a wide range of institutions including libraries, archives, and museums as well as corporations and government agencies. There is an increasing need for professionals who have the ability to plan, manage and implement practices that ensure the long-term integrity and use of resources that are created in digital form. This includes information professionals who are charged with digital collections, as well as those working within data-intensive jobs that have curation requirements (e.g. scientists, analysts, public officials).

To complete the certificate, students to take five classes (15 credits) in addition to those required for the degree, three of which must count only toward the Certificate and two of which can be counted toward both the MSIS/MSLS and the Certificate.

The Graduate Certificate requires the completion of five courses. Forty percent of the credits required for the Graduate Certificate in Digital Curation can overlap with courses used for either the MSLS or MSIS degrees. Graduate students outside of SILS (e.g., School of Government, School of Journalism, etc.) who are in good standing in their programs can earn the certificate, but they will need to complete all five of the specified courses.

Certificate Required Courses (15 Credits):

  • INLS 465 Understanding Information Technology for Managing Digital Collections*
  • INLS 525: Electronic Records Management OR INLS 740: Digital Libraries: Principles & Applications
  • INLS 556: Introduction to Archives & Record Management
  • If pursuing the MSLS, INLS 582: Systems Analysis; if pursuing the MSIS, either INLS 513: Resource Selection and Evaluation OR INLS 755: Archival Appraisal
  • INLS 752: Digital Preservation and Access*

* It is strongly recommended that students take this course early in their course of study.

Additional Requirements: Master’s Paper and Field Experience

The student is expected to complete a significant project in the area of digital curation. This can be satisfied by (1) successfully completing a Master’s project/paper in the area of digital curation; or (2) successfully completing a professional field experience working on a digital curation-related capacity in a practice setting. The work to satisfy these requirements must be approved by the director of the SILS Digital Curation Certificate program, Dr. Helen Tibbo. Past settings for professional field experiences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill include the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science; ibiblio.org; Information Technology Services; and the University Library, including the University Archives and the Carolina Digital Library and Archives. Many other opportunities exist through the Triangle, including Duke University, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, North Carolina State University, and regional information technology companies.

SILS Elective Courses:

In completing the 48 graduate credit hours required for a SILS Master’s degree, the student will take several elective courses. Listed below are courses recommended as elective options for students earning the Graduate Certificate in Digital Curation. Note that this list is not exhaustive of all relevant options, and course offerings (especially special topics courses) vary between semesters.

Regularly Scheduled Courses

INLS 503: Communication Skills
INLS 512: Applications of Natural Language Processing
INLS 523: Database Systems I
INLS 541: Information Visualization
INLS 560: Programming for Information Professionals
INLS 561: Digital Forensics for the Curation of Digital Collections
INLS 566: Information Assurance
INLS 572: Web Development I (1.5 credits)
INLS 576: Distributed Systems and Administration
INLS 584: Information Ethics
INLS 613: Text Mining
INLS 623: Database II
INLS 626: Introduction to Big Data and NoSQL
INLS 700: Scholarly Communication (1.5 credits)
INLS 720: Metadata Architectures & Applications

INLS 740: Digital Libraries: Principles & Applications
INLS 754: Access, Outreach, and Public Service in Cultural Heritage Institutions
INLS 755: Archival Appraisal
INLS 756: Data Curation and Management
INLS 757: Principles and Practices in Archival Description
INLS 760: Web Databases
INLS 782: Library Assessment
INLS 795: Professional Field Experience

Examples of Special Topics Courses INLS 690: Information Analytics
INLS 690: Usability Testing and Evaluation
INLS 690: Issues in Cloud Computing
INLS 690: Seminar In Social Informatics
INLS 690: Visual Analytics
INLS 690: Project Management
INLS 690: Data Sharing Among Scientists

Students are also encouraged to consider taking one or more courses in fulfillment of Master degree elective credits at another School or Department at UNC or, through the inter-institutional program, at a participating partner university. Inter-institutional program institutions are Duke University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, UNC-Charlotte, and UNC-Greensboro.


If you have questions about the Graduate Certificate in Digital Curation please contact Dr. Cal Lee or Dr. Helen Tibbo.  To apply for the Graduate Certificate in Digital Curation please submit the online form.