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“Digital curation is the selection, preservation, maintenance, collection and archiving of digital assets. Digital curation establishes, maintains and adds value to repositories of digital data for present and future use. This is often accomplished by archivists, librarians, scientists, historians, and scholars”(Wikipedia).
It should be noted that Cataloguing, Curation and Provenance are commonly grouped together since the metadata, workflow, processes and legalistics associated with each have >70% intersection and therefore rather than generating independent systems a common approach is preferable. Moreover, there are strong interdependencies with identification and citation, with AAAI, with processing, with optimisation, with modelling and with architecture.
The review of this topic will be organised by Keith Jeffery in consultation with the following volunteers: . They will partition the exploration and gathering of information and collaborate on the analysis and formulation of the initial report. Record details of the major steps in the change history table below.For further details of the complete procedure see item 4 on the Getting Started page.
Note: Do not record editorial / typographical changes. Only record significant changes of content.
|Date||Name||Institution||Nature of the information added / changed|
|11 Jan 2016||Keith Jeffery||Draft content provided by Keith Jeffery|
The ideal curation state is aimed to ensure availability of digital assets through media migration to ensure physical readability, redundant copies to ensure availability, appropriate security and privacy measures to ensure reliability and appropriate metadata to allow discovery, contextualisation and use including information on provenance and rights. The current practice commonly falls far short of this with preservation commonly linked with backup/recovery (usually limited to the physical preservation of the digital asset) and lacking the steps of curation (selection, ingestion, preservation, archiving (including metadata) and maintenance. Furthermore in the current state while datasets may be curated it is rare for software or operational environments to be curated.
The desirable lifecycle is represented by a DCC (Digital Curation Centre) diagram  available in Fig. 1.
Data Management Plan
Increasingly research funders are demanding a DMP (Data Management Plan). Different organisations have proposed different templates and tools for plans but that of DCC is used widely as is the US equivalent. A DMP is defined (Wikipedia) “A data management plan or DMP is a formal document that outlines how you will handle your data both during your research, and after the project is completed”.
OAIS Reference Model
OAIS (Open Archival Information Systems Reference Model — ISO 14721:2003) provides a generic conceptual framework for building a complete archival repository, and identifies the responsibilities and interactions of Producers, Consumers and Managers of both paper and digital records. The standard defines the processes required for effective long-term preservation and access to information objects, while establishing a common language to describe these. It does not specify an implementation, but provides the framework to make a successful implementation possible, through describing the basic functionality required for a preservation archive. It identifies mandatory responsibilities, and provides a standardised method to describe repository functionality by providing detailed models of archival information and archival functions. A set of metadata elements in a structure has been proposed.
Fig. 1: The Curation Lifecycle Model
Problems to be Overcome
The following are some important problems which need to be addressed for curation:
Higgins, S. (2006). "Using OAIS for Curation". DCC Briefing Papers: Introduction to Curation. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Handle: 1842/3354. Available online: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/briefing-papers/introduction-curation
 Keith G Jeffery, Anne Asserson: ‘Supporting the Research Process with a CRIS’ in Anne Gams Steine Asserson, Eduard J Simons (Eds) ‘Enabling Interaction and Quality: Beyond the Hanseatic League’; Proceedings 8th International Conference on Current Research Information Systems CRIS2006 Conference, Bergen, May 2006 pp 121-130 Leuven University Press ISBN 978 90 5867 536 1
There is some cause for optimism:
However, the major problem is the cost of collecting metadata for curation. Firstly, incremental collection along the workflow with re-use of existing information should assist and workflow systems should be evolved to accomplish this. Secondly, improving techniques of automated metadata extraction from digital objects may reach production status in this timeframe.