CurateGear 2015 Symposium Spotlights Digital Curation Tools and Methods

January 30, 2015

CurateGear 2015, an interactive day-long event focused on digital curation tools and methods, brought archivists, librarians, and other professionals from across the country to Chapel Hill on January 7, 2015. Participants saw demonstrations, heard about the latest developments, and discussed application in real-world contexts at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education.

The annual symposium is sponsored by the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (through the BitCurator Access project).

“CurateGear is one of my favorite meetings every year,” said Leslie Johnston, Director of Digital Preservation at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  “In attending CurateGear for all four years that it's taken place, I have had the opportunity to learn about a variety of tools for use in digital curation and preservation that I might not have otherwise seen. Its format, which focuses on live demonstrations and not presentations, provides deeper insight into tools and how they work and gives participants a way to ask questions directly of technical experts.”

The day’s program was divided into five broad categories: professional needs and strategies, data and repository management, new processes and workflows, collection management and description, hosted and distributed services, and media and disk images. More than 20 speakers delivered presentations and demonstrations, addressing specific tools and approaches related to these topics. The event closed with a panel discussion reviewing the implications for the methods and technologies highlighted throughout the day.

“This was my first CurateGear, and I was already intrigued about the meeting even before attending,” said Peter Murray, Assistant Director of Technology Services Development at LYRASIS. “The format of three, five-minute presentations followed by 45-minute concurrent sessions is great way to introduce new technologies and keep the participants engaged.  The actual execution of the format was great, too. The pairings of sessions and the depth that presenters were willing to talk about the technology was spot on.  And something I didn't appreciate from the program schedule before coming to North Carolina was the willingness and expectation for the presenters to talk about works in progress.  The session on the emulation containers was particularly interesting in that it expanded my thoughts about how emulation could be provided as a service.”

CurateGear: Enabling the Curation of Digital Collections has been hosted in Chapel Hill each year since 2011. It was preceded by two other symposia, Engaging Communities for the Curation of Digital Products of Scholarly Endeavors in 2010 and Public Symposium: Curate Me: Stewardship of Personal Digital Archives in 2011.  

For more information on CurateGear 2015, including a full list of speakers and slides from many of the talks, visit

Photos: CurateGear presenters Alex Nelson from Prometheus Computing and Doug White from the National Institute for Standards and Technology.