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The digital curator between continuity and change


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Developing a training course at the University of Turin

Presentation by Maurizio Vivarelli, Maria Cassella and Federico Valacchi, University of Turin at the DigCurV International Conference; Framing the digital curation curriculum

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The digital curator between continuity and change

  1. 1. The digital curator between continuityand change: developing a trainingcourse at the University of TurinMaurizio Vivarelli, Maria CassellaFederico ValacchiFraming the digital curator curriculumFlorence, 6-7 May 2013
  2. 2. Cultural heritage in digital age Meeting point of intersection between technology and disciplinarytraditions Added cultural value by linking disparate digital datasets Appraises data and data sets for enduring value in the context ofarchives and cultural heritage Explores the creation of new relationships and knowledge by addingsocial value to the cultural digital object Different disciplines = different techniques FIDO
  3. 3. Information professionals in digital age New roles evolving in libraries, archives, and museumsSee: JobList of American Library AssociationIssue of recongnition of these new roles Higher complexity = more inter-disciplinary and group work necessary Subject-domain knowledge is the prerequisite to successfully performdigital curation
  4. 4. The information professionals evolvingscenario in ItalyGrowing need to explore the convergence among informationprofessionals2010: in Piedmont ANAI, ICOM, and AIB founded MAB (Musei, Archivi,Biblioteche) a political regional coordination of the 3 associationsrepresenting archivists, museum specialists and librarians in Italy2011: the MAB became a permanent national coordination•Goal: to promote discussions on topics interesting the threeprofessional associations to foster interoperability at political level and commonstrategies for the future of information professionals in ItalyIdentity issues
  5. 5. MAB screenshot
  6. 6. Digital Curation: the emergence of a newdiscipline• The term “Digital Curation” was first used at the "Digital Curation: digitalarchives, libraries and e-science” seminar on the 19th October 2001• Initially digital preservation is seen as the strategic aspect in digitalcuration• Later on the term “has been used to refer to the maintenance of bigresearch data and other digital materials over their entire life-cycle andover time for current and future generations of users” (Beagrie, 2006):• from the creation to the preservation and storage till the idea of re-use ofdigital assets and research data; currently the concept of digital curation also includes the idea of added valueto the management of digital materials
  7. 7. The DCC Curation Lifecycle Model• DCC Curation Lifecycle Model provides a graphical,high-level overview of the stages requiredfor successful digital curation:• Lifecycle actions:• Description and representation• Preservation planning• Community watch and participation• Curate and preserve
  8. 8. Digital curation and digital preservation inItaly• Scarce attention to the issues of digital curation anddigital preservationMagazzini digitali launched in 2006Coordinated by the National Library of Florence, supported bythe Fondazione Rinascimento DigitaleLinked to the digital legal deposit (L. 106/2004)• Necessity to raise awareness on digital curationboth at national and institutional level
  9. 9. The challenge of training digital curators inItaly• Academic curricula scenario is unclear and fragmented After the introduction of the law 240/2010 closure of mostdegree courses devoted to LIS and Archival science Majority of remaining courses relegate Archival science andLIS to the Humanities A few masters concentrate on the digital themes(Macerata/Padova, Parma)No first level graduate course is specifically available fordigital curators
  10. 10. University of Turin andDigitization Projects• University of Turin: 60,000 FTE• 6 schools• 27 Departments• 2012: the University Library System launches DigitUnito, aweb platform to give access to the digital cultural objects ofthe University of Turin DigitUnito is powered by the Open Source software Omeka,developed by the George Mason University It is a multifunction platform: gives access to library and archivedigital materials
  11. 11. Omeka
  12. 12. Developing a training coursefor digital curators at the University ofTurin• Need to train digital curators to support digitization projects of UniversityLibraries Course aim is to train information professionals at executive level More flexible than a master• Need to keep low fees and to respond to rapid developments in practiceand standards for digital librariesThe decision to launch the training course is also consistent with theexpectation that according to the United States “OccupationalOutlook Handbook”, 2010-11 Edition, digital curation will increase by23% between 2008 and 2018
  13. 13. The course curriculum• 600 hours = teaching and personal work 6 modules: 1. The document in transition from analog to digital 2. The culturalheritage and the digital perspective 3. Metadata, standards and tools fordigitization projects 4. Communication in digital age 5. Preservation in digitalage 5.1 Access and licensing rights 6. Case studies and best practices 2 laboratories: provide hands-on experience 5 internships in university and non university libraries and at the StateArchive of Turin• From October 2014 to May 2015 (roughtly two semesters) Skills to develop: communicative, group work, legal, digital preservationpolicies and standards for digital repositories (the OAIS reference model) Competencies to strenghen: subject-domain Project management and staffing skills are not included at this level
  14. 14. Final considerations• Digital curation is a staff performed activity To successfully manage DigitUnito we collaboratively work with IT andUniTo Portal Division• Information professionals are in the best position to becomeexcellent digital curator. However: It is necessary to ensure that “Library “leaders-in-waiting” are giventhe appropriate leadership training to equip them to operate in thisdata centric world” (Lyon, 2012) The understanding of the complex nature of the relationships thatconnect documents to the context is to be considered an essentialcondition so that information professionals can realize the deepmeaning of working in a digital environment
  15. 15. Final considerations• Digital curators have to learn “to respect both thephysical and the digital, to manage, value andpreserve a wide variety of formats, to identifyconnections, to evaluate and select systems that suitthe needs of their institution best, to appreciate andcreate relationships among materials, and to imagineand implement the merging of contexts and theprovision of access” (Harvey, Bastian, 2011)