What is “Digital Curation”? What Does the Phrase Mean to You?

Dilbert.com

This comic strip came out almost two years ago, in October 2011. I have wanted to post on this topic, but since I wrote one of my literature reviews for my dissertation on this very subject, I decided against blogging on it. I was a bit weary of the subject for a while, but it has since become fun again. So, here we go….

Dr. Cal Lee and Dr. Helen Tibbo define “digital curation” as:

Digital curation involves selection and appraisal by creators and archivists; evolving provision of intellectual access; redundant storage; data transformations; and, for some materials, a commitment to long-term preservation. Digital curation is stewardship that provides for the reproducibility and re-use of authentic digital data and other digital assets. Development of trustworthy and durable digital repositories; principles of sound metadata creation and capture; use of open standards for file formats and data encoding; and the promotion of information management literacy are all essential to the longevity of digital resources and the success of curation efforts.


The Digital Curation Centre defines “digital curation” in terms of data curation:

Digital curation involves maintaining, preserving and adding value to digital research data throughout its lifecycle.

The active management of research data reduces threats to their long-term research value and mitigates the risk of digital obsolescence. Meanwhile, curated data in trusted digital repositories may be shared among the wider UK research community.

As well as reducing duplication of effort in research data creation, curation enhances the long-term value of existing data by making it available for further high quality research.

Erine Scime wrote an excellent article on the value of curator-as-content-strategist for the Web. The author did not define “digital curation”, but instead asked, “what is it about this word that deserves redefinition for the web?” The author has a background in libraries and museums, and applied that background and training to discuss the business use of “digital curation” Scott Adams made fun of in the Dilbert comic above. In the article, Scime discusses the history of curation, how a content strategist can act as a digital curator, the importance of collecting and maintaining a collection or collections responsibly, using analytics to drive content production, and, establishing a relationship with your audience by creating a dialog with users.

So, tell me, what does the phrase digital curation mean to you?