Digital curation is larger than digital preservation; it includes preservation but also creation or selection, appraisal, ongoing maintenance and enhancement. Data curators are expected to facilitate the use and reuse of datasets by interacting with creators and users, maintaining documentation, and establishing linkages with other resources. Originally a term applied to all digital materials, curation followed the money and became associated with science and social science data. Perhaps (I'm speculating) because "curation" is associated with cultural heritage rather than science, it is now being overtaken by “research data management.” I suspect in a few years we’ll regard the tem "digital curation" as rather quaint and iSchools will offer specialties in data management.
Stewardship covers much of the same territory as curation but is loftier and lacks the data-specific connotations. Stewardship is taking responsibility for all aspects of something but not necessarily getting down and dirty with data. Institutions exercise stewardship, individuals curate or manage data. (I think this is what Nancy Cline meant as she was quoted in Michele’s paper.) I think the Library of Congress named their post-NDIIPP initiative the National Digital Stewardship Alliance deliberately to compensate for the scattershot and temporary nature of NDIIPP project funding. I think LC is trying to communicate a more mature, responsible, and permanent effort. If you have stewardship of something, you don’t dump it in the bit-bucket when your funded research project ends.
Digital preservation has two senses, one the most general and the other the most specific of these terms. Its general sense is what we use as a shorthand for the entire field of endeavor. Just as we say “bibliographic record” for a description of any type of resource, book or not, we say “digital preservation” when we can’t be bothered with distinctions. (Note the first sentence in this paper.) The second sense is the most specific because it is focused strictly on the actions that keep objects safe and usable, a small subset of the activities involved in stewardship or curation. A JISC preservation briefing paper puts this very well: “Digital preservation is the series of actions and interventions required to ensure continued and reliable access to authentic digital objects for as long as they are deemed to be of value. … Digital curation is all about maintaining and adding value to a trusted body of digital information for future and current use; specifically, the active management and appraisal of data over the entire life cycle.” In the U.S., we tend to use "preservation" to refer to all activities guaranteeing the integrity and usability of an object, from storage management to active preservation strategies. The so-called “ALA definition” reflects this. In the EU, "preservation" is reserved for strategies to mitigate format obsolescence; everything else is “bit-preservation.”
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Digital Curation" group.
To post to this group, send email to digital-...@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to digital-curati...@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/digital-curation?hl=en.
> Perhaps (I'm
> speculating) because "curation" is associated with cultural heritage rather
> than science, it is now being overtaken by “research data management.”
Pure practicality. If you say "digital curation" to researchers, they
look at you funny, you weird librarian, you. It's as bad as
"Research data management" they understand quickly. Whatever it's
called, I agree entirely that there's more to it than digital
preservation. For one thing, some research data is analog!
(It doesn't help that "curation" is the latest social-media-pundit
darling term, meaning something like "picking out neat links for other
Some elements of the library community remain convinced that "digital
curation" is the "correct" term. I tend to shrug at that and use the
term with them (the library-school topics course I teach has that
title, though I hope to change it), avoiding it whenever possible