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Digital Preservation Education in iSchools

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Title: Digital Preservation Education in iSchools
Author(s): Costello, Kaitlin Light
Subject(s): Digital curation digital preservation graduate education iSchool
Abstract: This poster investigates digital preservation education in the iSchool caucus. The project identifies core concepts addressed in digital preservation coursework in iSchools and identifies possible areas for curriculum development. Digital preservation education at the graduate level is critical. To ensure long-term access and use of digital materials, information professionals must have a working knowledge of digital curation, which emphasizes a lifecycle approach to digital preservation [1]. Unfortunately, the topic of digital preservation education is not prominent in literature about digital curation. Only a handful of case studies and recommendations have been published regarding digital preservation education within information science, library science, and computer science graduate programs. Instead, much of the work on digital preservation education is contained in more general studies on educating digital librarians or electronic records managers. To understand how to better design curricula that engages central issues of digital curation at the graduate level, an investigation of the current state of digital preservation education is warranted. Coursework devoted solely to digital preservation is essential for graduate students in information-centric disciplines. The necessity for devoted coursework is due to the complex and multifaceted nature of the topic. Unfortunately, a 2006 study found that very few library or information science schools offered courses specifically on the topic of digital preservation. Furthermore, an extremely small percentage of students in library or information science programs had exposure to the critical aspects of digital preservation during their coursework [2]. Digital preservation education can and should be studied in iSchools. The core mission of the iSchool movement is to connect people, information, and technology [3]. Digital curation supports this mission by enabling the continued maintenance of digital information resources throughout their lifecycle, allowing them to be rendered and re-used in the long-term. It is an interdisciplinary process that hinges on expertise from many different fields, including computer science, information and library science, informatics, management, and education. Furthermore, iSchools are a natural home for digital library education [4] and there are significant overlaps between digital library education and digital curation education [5]. It follows that iSchools are an excellent venue for research on the topic of digital preservation education. This project examines digital preservation courses in iSchools over the past five years (2005-2009). Course descriptions and syllabi are examined in order to develop a definition of current practices in digital preservation education. Based on this definition, areas for future developments in digital preservation curricula are identified. Course catalogs from the 26 iSchools have been analyzed to determine whether or not schools offer classes specifically on the topic of digital preservation. Of the 26 iSchools, 9 schools offer degrees in information science and in library science, 6 award degrees in information science but not in library science, and 5 award degrees in library science and not information science. The remaining 6 schools offer a variety of degrees, including computer science, information management, and information technology. These categories will be useful in determining what types of iSchools, if any, are leaders in digital preservation education. All of the schools that have been examined to date offer course catalogs and course descriptions on the open web. Many of the course syllabi are also available online. The course must contain the phrase “Digital Preservation” in its title or course description in order to be included. One-shot sessions and classes that deal with a subset of digital preservation, such as classes on digital libraries, are not considered. Course themes and assignments are compared to the DigCCurr Matrix of Digital Curation Knowledge and Competencies. This six-dimensional matrix from the University of North Carolina DigCCurr project defines and organizes materials to be covered in digital curation coursework [6]. This analysis will identify current strengths and potential areas for further development in digital preservation education. The study will also address the question of where current digital preservation course materials fit within the larger scope of digital curation knowledge and competencies.
Issue Date: 2010-02-03
Genre: Conference Poster
Type: Text
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/15054
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-03-02
 

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