Drexel University College of Information Science and Technology


  • Instructor: Mark A. Matienzo, mam586@drexel.edu
  • Office hours: See below and contact as needed
  • Required textbook: Harvey, Ross. Digital Curation: A How-To-Do It Manual. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2010. ISBN 9781555706944. All other required readings will be are available online (through Drexel University’s electronic resources, as freely available resources, or included on Blackboard).

Course Description

This course will explore concepts, principles, and practice for the preservation of digital information resources. Digital preservation is a fundamental issue for anyone responsible for the creation or management of digital information. The class will address conceptual models, policy frameworks, technical approaches and requirements, and a number of case studies of real-world digital preservation projects and systems.

The class will consist of weekly lectures, supplemented by readings, discussion, and assignments. Each week will focus on specific primary topics, but students should seek connections between the topics and the application of principles across domains and different types of digital preservation problems. Furthermore, each week’s concepts will build on concepts and material introduced and discussed in previous weeks. In discussion, students are encouraged to bring up past experience when relevant to the current week’s topic.

Policies and Guidelines

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

This course follows all Drexel University policies and procedures regarding academic integrity (see http://www.drexel.edu/provost/policies/academic_dishonesty.asp for more details). All assignments submitted must be your own work, with sources properly cited. Any incidence of plagiarism or other academic dishonesty will result in an F for the course. See “Guidelines for Assignments” below as an academic honesty assignment is required on each assignment submitted.

Support for Students with Disabilities

Drexel University ensures people with disabilities will have an equal opportunity to participate in its programs and activities. Members and guests of the Drexel community who have a disability need to register with the Office of Disability Resources (ODR), if requesting auxiliary aids, accommodations, and services to participate in Drexel University’s programs. For further information please contact the ODS:

Support for Equality and Diversity

Drexel University strives to promote an environment of equality of opportunity and compliance with University policies and federal, state and local laws prohibiting discrimination based upon race, color, religion, gender (sex), marital status, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability and veteran status. Students, faculty and staff with questions about or complaints concerning discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation should contact the Office of Equality and Diversity:

Course Drop/Withdrawal

Students may drop a course before the end of the second week of classes. More information about dropping a course can be found at http://www.drexel.edu/provost/policies/course_drop.asp.

Students may withdraw from a course before the end of the sixth week of classes. More information about withdrawing from a course can be found at http://www.drexel.edu/provost/policies/course_withdrawal_policy.asp.


Students are expected to “attend class” virtually by following lectures, completing assigned readings in advance of class, participating in discussion, and/or submitting assignments on time. If a student does not participate in a week’s class, it will be considered an “absence.”

Excused absences from class are granted in cases approved by the Drexel University Office of the Provost. These include: 1) absences due to University Sponsored Activities where the student seeks approval at least two weeks in advance of the absence, 2) religious observances where the student makes the request at the beginning of term, and 3) catastrophic events such as illness, bereavement, accident, or fire, and the student provides documentation to provide perspective that class absence is warranted. It is expected that students seeking an approved absence develop a plan and timetable to make up the missed coursework.

Students may have one unexcused absence for the term. Each further unexcused absence will result in a one-level grade reduction in your final course grade (e.g., a B+ final grade lowered to a B). To avoid being charged with an unexcused absence, students should at least check into the discussion each week, even if they are not going to make substantive comments. More information about class absences can be found at the Office of the Provost at http://www.drexel.edu/provost/policyweb/absence.html.

Grading Scale

All assignments are assigned point grades based on the percentage to which they count towards your final grade. For example, an assignment worth 20% of your final grade has a maximum possible grade of 20 points.

For final grades, the grading scale is as follows:

  • A+ = 99-100
  • A = 94-98
  • A- = 90-93
  • B+ = 86-89
  • B = 82-85
  • B- = 78-81
  • C+ = 74-77
  • C = 70-73

In the event that your numerical grade falls between two letter grades, your grade will be rounded up if the decimal value is 0.5 or greater; otherwise, it will be rounded down.


Incompletes will be assigned only in cases of serious emergency (e.g. medical or family). The instructor retains the right to ask for evidence of the emergency upon request. If granted an incomplete, you and the instructor will set a mutually agreed-upon final due date by which all outstanding work must be completed.

Class Preparation and Scheduling

  • Class runs from 6 PM Eastern Time on Monday to the same time on the following Monday.
  • Assignments are due no later than 6 PM Eastern Time on Monday of the specified week unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor.
  • Students are expected to complete all readings for a given week before the start of class with the exception of Week 1. See “Readings” below for more details.
  • This class does not use PowerPoint or Class Capture for lectures. You should keep up with the lectures by reading the lecture notes after class begins for that week.

Guidelines for Assignments

Late assignments may not be accepted unless the instructor has granted an extension. Any requests for extensions for a particular assignment must be made prior to its due date. Exceptions to this will generally only be considered as a result of serious emergencies. In the event that I do accept a late assignment without an extension or you turn in an assignment past the date due associated with the extension, I will deduct 5% of the total possible points each day that it is late (e.g. 0.5 points per day on an assignment worth 10 points).

While assignment length is a guideline, it is also significant. Because students tend to use various fonts and margins, I have included approximate word counts for assignments rather than page numbers. Word counts for assignments do not include cover pages, honesty statements, citations, and the like.

Correct spelling, proper grammar, clear phrasing, and proper and accurate citations are all essential in your assignments. Ignoring these issues within your assignments will lead to your grade being reduced. If you are concerned about the quality of your writing, please contact me or consider using the services of the Drexel Writing Center.

Citations should be formatted consistently, using preferably Chicago/Turabian, MLA, or APA style. The particular citation style does not matter, but being consistent in the formatting of your citations does.

Assignments should be submitted via the Blackboard assignments section - not the digital dropbox. If Blackboard is down or you are having other problems submitting your assignments via Blackboard, please let me know immediately. I do not accept assignments via email without prior arrangements.

All submitted assignments must include Drexel’s Academic Honesty Certification Statement. Any assignment missing the Academic Honesty Certification Statement will not be graded until it is resubmitted including the Certification Statement. In order to raise awareness about academic dishonesty and reduce cases of academic dishonesty in the College, the iSchool policy requires that all syllabi contain the notice that students must include the following certification page with all deliverables (for example: papers, projects, exams) indicating that the work submitted is their own. Syllabi must include notification about this and indicate that deliverables will not be graded without this certification page. For more information, please visit the following page: http://www.drexel.edu/studentlife/judicial/honesty.html. The certification text follows:

I certify that:

  • This paper/project/exam is entirely my own work.

  • I have not quoted the words of any other person from a printed source or a website without indicating what has been quoted and providing an appropriate citation.

  • I have not submitted this paper / project to satisfy the requirements of any other course.

Signature ____________________
Date ____________________

Questions, Assistance, Etc.

  • You can use the “Lifeline” discussion board on Blackboard to ask questions related to the class, assignments, etc. There is an option to ask questions anonymously as well.
  • I will have public “office hours” for every Tuesday from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM Eastern Time (unless noted otherwise), held in Wimba Classroom. Any questions about course content, assignments, and the like are welcome here.
  • If you would like to ask me a question privately or would like to set up another time to talk, please contact me via email.

Course Evaluations

Course evaluations are a required element of every course in the iSchool. Evaluation forms are completely anonymous; in addition, the instructors do not have access to evaluation results until after they have turned in the grades for their classes. The information in the evaluations provides feedback to the instructor, helps the College improve classes and teaching, and is used by administrators in annual faculty performance reviews. Please be part of this integral process by submitting a course evaluation at the end of this term.

Assignments and Course Requirements


You are expected to complete the readings for a given week before the start of class that week, with the exception of week 1. Please complete Week 1’s readings by the middle of Week 1 if possible. The readings for a given week are listed in the Course Schedule below. The listing below should be treated as the authoritative listing.

The lectures will both build on and supplement the material in the readings. In some cases, assigned readings may only require you to skim them or are considered optional. In those cases, the readings will be denoted in Blackboard by the words [SKIM] or [OPTIONAL] in their title.

If you are having difficulty locating or accessing a reading, please post a message to the Lifeline board on Blackboard.

Class Participation (15%)

Students are expected to participate in discussion boards on a regular basis, preferably every week. You are free to create a new discussion topic, but whenever possible you should attempt to continue the discussion of an existing topics for your own benefit, as well as that of your fellow students and your instructor.

Students have until 6 PM Eastern Time on the following Monday to post comments. In general, I will not be providing weekly discussion questions to guide the conversation, so feel free to raise points that you have identified in your response papers (see below). I may post a topic if discussion does not seem to happen naturally. Posts may also address the readings and the other materials that are part of that week’s assignments as well as any other topic relevant to a given week’s content.

You are expected to participate nine of the ten weeks of class, with eight of the those demonstrating substantive evidence of participation. If a student posts more than eight weeks, the highest eight grades will be counted. However, the grades are assigned based on the quality of the posts rather than the quantity. See also Attendance (above) for a discussion of absences. To ensure that you are not charged with an unexcused absence, you should at least check in during the weeks you are not planning to make a substantive comment.

Posts will be assessed based on four criteria:

  • Relevance of the post to the question posed and/or the conversation taking place in the - i.e., the degree to which a post advances the discussion, either by clarifying, extending, or deepening it.
  • Thoughtfulness of the post - i.e., level of insight reflected in the post.
  • Depth of understanding of the assigned materials reflected in the post - i.e., level of preparation reflected in the post.
  • Inclusion of relevant materials outside of the assigned readings - i.e., the degree to which the post adds to the understanding of the questions or discussion by bringing in new information or perspectives from other sources.

Midterm grades for participation will be distributed around weeks 5 to 6.

Response Papers (10% each / 30% total)

Throughout the term, you are responsible for writing three response papers of 800-1200 words. For each response papers, you choose a reading from a given class week’s readings, summarize the key points in that piece, and critique those key points. You do not need to choose a reading from the week that the response paper is due (e.g., for Response Paper #1, you can choose a reading from Week 1, 2, or 3). Readings from the textbook (Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-It Manual) and any reading marked [SKIM] are not to be used for response papers. Whenever possible, justify your positions based on other assigned readings, class discussions, or other material in professional literature on digital preservation.

Alternate Option for Response Paper #3

For Response Paper #3, you also have the option to write an analysis of a digital preservation policy. A set of links to policy documents from a variety of institutions is provided on Blackboard in the folder entitled “Policies for Analysis.” You may choose one of the policies available in this folder, but you are also welcome to choose another institution if you can easily obtain its policy or practices documentation. There are two exceptions to this:

  • You cannot use the ICPSR documentation as it was reading for class.
  • You cannot use documentation from your current employer.

Your analysis should include the following:

  • A description of the initiative and its institutional context, highlighting any particular aspects that you consider distinctive.
  • An overview of its policies and guidelines (or practices, if no formal policies are available), including its mission, the scope of its responsibility and the types of material it contains, the services it provides, roles and responsibilities for its operations, its level of security, and its sustainability or viability.
  • A brief description of how the initiative could determine if it is successful or adequately addressing its mission and its needs of the user community.
  • An overview of ways that the initiative’s policy and practice could be strengthened.

You are not expected or required to contact staff that operate the program.

In reviewing the policy documentation, please be aware that many of these individual documents do not stand on their own. In other words, they may refer or link to other documentation, which you should subsequently review to determine if it addresses important components of the initiative’s overall preservation policies. For example, the ICPSR Digital Preservation Policy Framework refers to more than eight other documents. You may need to do a little additional research to find related documentation.

Hands-On Exercise (10%)

For this assignment, you will choose a hands-on exercise out from two or three options. Each option involves undertaking a fairly straightforward task related to preservation, such as creating descriptive metadata, identifying file formats, etc. Along with completing the exercise, you are expected to write a response of 800-1200 words that allow you to reflect on the exercise and its results.

More detail about this assignment is available on Blackboard.

Case Study Analysis (10%)

In this assignment, you will select a case study that describes a specific digital preservation project, program, or activity, and analyze and critique the article. To identify an appropriate case study, you can use a published article, or a report that is available on the web, as long as it follows the guidelines below:

  • The case study was not assigned as a reading for class.
  • You must choose a case study that reports on work that has been started or completed, rather than one that only describes a plan for a project.
  • The case study must be no more than five years old (i.e. published in 2007 or later).
  • Your case study must also be about the preservation of digital information, not just about the digitization of “analog” materials.
  • You also must get the approval of the instructor for your case study no later than the beginning of Week 8.

Your analysis should be 800-1200 words and should include a synopsis of the article, a description of particular preservation strategies, technologies, or techniques used, and analysis of any lessons learned, particularly if they could impact future projects. Regardless whether you agree or disagree with the approach the project took, describe the reasons why you feel that way in detail.

Potential sources for your case studies can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Archives journals, like American Archivist, Archivaria, Archival Science, etc.
  • Digital curation/digital preservation journals, like International Journal for Digital Curation
  • Library technology/digital library journals, like Library Hi-Tech, D-Lib, Ariadne, Code4lib Journal, etc.
  • Papers from conferences, like iPRES, DigCCurr, Society of American Archivists, Association of Moving Image Archivists, etc.
  • Case studies from professional organizations, like the Digital Curation Centre, NDIIPP, the Digital Preservation Coalition, Open Planets Foundation, etc.
  • The Digital Curation Bibliography:


Group Project (35%)

This is a group project designed to allow you gain experience assessing the preservation needs of a collection of digital information important to you and your classmates and developing a detailed plan that would help ensure the preservation of that information. Each group will usually have four or five students total, but this project should be manageable with groups of at least three students. The instructor will form the groups for you and list the groups by the beginning of Week 2.

You may use any technology you’d like to collaborate with the members of your group, including but not limited to group discussion boards, email, Skype, etc. If any problems occur with the group collaboration, please notify me at the time that these occur. Although I can consider relative contributions, I cannot make any allowance for problems that are reported after assignments have been graded.

This assignment has three parts: a draft preservation plan (Part 1), a final report (Part 2), and an evaluation of your peers in your group (Part 3). For Parts 1 and 2, you should ensure that your submitted assignments are written in a consistent voice that represents the entire group. Part 3 is submitted individually and will be used in grade apportionment.

Part 1: Draft Preservation Plan (not assessed)

The first part of this assignment is a draft of your preservation plan. While not graded, it is nonetheless a mandatory part of the assignment. This gives the instructor an opportunity to give you feedback and guidance about how to expand and improve upon this draft for the final report.

For this part of the assignment, your group should ensure you do the following:

  • Undertake the selection of a common area of interest across your group, and identify or create a collection of digital information for that interest. This can include websites, audio or video recordings, software, textual material, etc., and should include more than one of these types of digital media.
  • Develop a description of that shared interest and the motivation for preserving that material. Identify the context of the collection and provide information about its creation, and describe it in any other way you think is relevant in terms of how it gets preserved.
  • Perform an appraisal of the contents of your collection and identify a subset of that collection that you consider worthy of long-term preservation. Your group should describe its appraisal decision and selection process in detail. In addition, identify any important needs for this subset that would need to be addressed for that information to be preserved appropriately.
  • Begin developing a preservation plan to address the identified needs. Your preliminary plan should address potential strategies and actions, technical considerations such as file formats or metadata requirements, and potential compromises that you will need to make. These may include considerations of intellectual property rights, and in reflecting on these, describe the implications on your plan of action.

Be sure to address the big picture as well as focusing on the details, such as whether you think this is feasible, potential expertise or staffing needed for this project, and how much time and/or money it would take.

Part 2: Final Report (30%)

Using the feedback you received on Part 1, rewrite and expand upon your preservation plan to thoroughly identify the collection of information and its requirements for preservation. Treat this as if you were developing a funding proposal for a grant agency or a private foundation. Your report should include the following components:

  • A revised version of your documentation from part 1 of your assignment. Ensure you adequately address the feedback provided by the instructor, such as expanding things in need of more detail.
  • A detailed staffing plan, identifying the roles, time allocation, and expertise needed to actualize this plan.
  • A detailed timeline and work plan that breaks down the necessary work into multiple phases, with a reasonable estimate about how long each phase and set of tasks will take.
  • A detailed description of any additional tangible resources (e.g. hardware or software, etc.) or services that you would need.
  • Identification of any significant risks or challenges for the project, and how your group intends to address them.
  • An overview of similar projects or those which may have some relevance to how your group intends to execute its plan.
  • A brief outline of how you would evaluate the success of your project. Stating that you intend to evaluate the success of how well the information was preserved over the long term is not adequate. Assume that your project has a finite first phase and that you need to evaluate your project to get further support.

You are not expected to prepare a budget.

While there is not a specific length requirement, I expect that most final reports will be between 3500-5000 words. Ensure that your final report shares one common voice. You can refer to specific discussions within your group, but the writing style should be consistent throughout.

Sample successful (i.e. funded) grant proposals that can be used for ideas can be found from the following links:

  • Institute of Museum and Library Services:

http://www.imls.gov/recipients/grantsearch.aspx (see National Leadership Grants - Advancing Digital Resources) * National Historical Publications & Records Commission - Electronic Records Projects: http://www.archives.gov/nhprc/projects/electronic-records/projects.html * National Endowment for the Humanities - Preservation and Access Research and Development: http://www.neh.gov/grants/preservation/preservation-and-access-research-and-development (see Recently Funded Awards and Sample Application Narratives)

Part 3: Peer Evaluation (5%)

All students are required to submit a peer evaluation at the end of the term that indicated the relative contribution of their group members to the project. These evaluations are used for grade apportionment. It is critical that you take these seriously. You will complete a peer evaluation form for each member of your group, including yourself. In addition, write approximately 150-200 words about each member of your group describing specific strengths, weaknesses and moments of excellence or problems that you’ve identified.

The peer evaluation form is available on Blackboard.

Course Schedule

Week 1: What is Digital Preservation? (September 24)

This week will contain an overview of the course and assignments, as well as background on and overview of digital preservation, including key themes in the course and the field. We will also investigate the related idea of “digital curation.”

Readings (complete by September 27 if possible)

  • In Harvey, Ross. Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-It-Manual (New York: Neal Schuman, 2010):
    • “Chapter 1: Introduction,” 3-18.
    • “Chapter 2: The Changing Landscape,” 19-32.
    • “Chapter 4: Defining Data,” 45-52.
    • “Chapter 5: Curation and Curators,” 55-63.
  • Sterling, Bruce. “Digital Decay.” In Permanence Through Change: The Variable Media Approach, edited by Alain Depocas, Jon Ippolito, and Caitlin Jones, 11-22. New York and Montréal: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Daniel Langlois Foundation, 2003.

http://variablemedia.net/pdf/Sterling.pdf. * Lavoie, Brian, and Lorcan Dempsey. “Thirteen Ways of Looking At… Digital Preservation.” D-Lib Magazine 10, no. 7/8 (July/August 2004). http://dx.doi.org/10.1045/july2004-lavoie. * Choose one of the following: * [Audio, 28 mins.] “Digital Archaeology and the Temporary Nature of Technology.” Future Tense. ABC Radio National, January 29, 2012. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/digital-archaeology-and-the-temporary-nature-of-technology/3821064. * [Video, 15 mins.]: “Digital Antiquities.” Future States. http://futurestates.tv/episodes/digital-antiquities. * Beagrie, Neil. “Digital Curation for Science, Digital Libraries, and Individuals.” International Journal of Digital Curation 1, no. 1 (2006): 3-16. http://dx.doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v1i1.2.

Week 2: Conceptual Models: OAIS and the DCC Lifecycle (October 1)

The Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System is a conceptual framework and an international standard for describing the components of a digital preservation environment. We will focus on the different components and their relationships during this week. We will also be looking at the DCC Lifecycle model, as developed by the Digital Curation Centre.


  • Harvey, Ross. “Chapter 3: Conceptual Models.” In Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-It-Manual, 33-44. New York: Neal Schuman, 2010.
  • [SKIM] Consultative System for Space Data Systems. Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System. Recommended Practice CCSDS 650.0-M-2. June 2012. http://public.ccsds.org/publications/archive/650x0m2.pdf.
    • Note: This document is long, but you should skim to get a high-level understanding of how the different parts of the Reference Model fit together. This week’s lecture and the other readings will explain things in more detail. The most important sections to skim in advance of class are section 2, section 3, and section 4.1, and skim sections 4.2 and 4.3 if you can complete them. Appendix F will give you a good high-level view of the relationships in section 4.1.
  • Higgins, Sarah. “The DCC Curation Lifecycle Model.” International Journal of Digital Curation 3, no. 1 (2008): 134-140.

http://dx.doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v3i1.48. * Lee, Christopher A. “Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model.” In Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, Third Edition, edited by Marcia J. Bates and Mary Niles Maack, 4020-4030. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2009. http://ils.unc.edu/callee/p4020-lee.pdf. * Ockerbloom, John Mark. “What Repositories Do: The OAIS Model.” Everybody’s Libraries, October 13, 2008). http://everybodyslibraries.com/2008/10/13/what-repositories-do-the-oais-model/. * Vardigan, Mary, and Cole Whiteman. “ICPSR meets OAIS: Applying the OAIS Reference Model to the Social Science Archive Context,” Archival Science 7, no. 1 (2007): 73-87. * [OPTIONAL] Ball, Alex. Review of Data Mangement Lifecycle Models. Version 1.0. REDm-MED Project Document redm1rep120110ab10. Bath, UK: University of Bath, January 10, 2012. http://opus.bath.ac.uk/28587.

Week 3: Ingest, Selection, Provenance and Authenticity (October 8)

Assignment Due: Response Paper #1

Ingest is the function within the OAIS Reference Model that accepts packages of digital information into a preservation system. Digital preservation requires processes of assessment and selection to determine the proper course of action. We will review means of identifying requirements and establishing selection criteria to ensure appropriate and responsible allocation of resources. We will also discuss the concepts of authenticity and provenance, or origin, of digital information and how it both relates to and distinct from the related archival concepts.


  • Harvey, Ross. “Chapter 11: Deciding What Data to Keep.” In Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-It-Manual, 131-149. New York: Neal Schuman, 2010.
  • Harvey, Ross. “Chapter 12: Ingesting Data.” In Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-It-Manual, 151-159. New York: Neal Schuman, 2010.
  • AIMS Work Group. “Chapter 1: Collection Development.” In AIMS Born-Digital Collections: An Inter-Institutional Model for Stewardship, 4-16. 2012.

http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/aims/whitepaper/AIMS_final.pdf. * AIMS Work Group. “Chapter 2: Accessioning.” In AIMS Born-Digital Collections: An Inter-Institutional Model for Stewardship, 17-30. 2012. http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/aims/whitepaper/AIMS_final.pdf. * Hirtle, Peter. “Archival Authenticity in a Digital Age.” In Authenticity in a Digital Environment. Washington: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2000: 8-23. http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub92/. * Rothenberg, Jeff. “Preserving Authentic Digital Information.” In Authenticity in a Digital Environment. Washington: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2000: 51-68. http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub92/. * Mumma, Courtney C., Glenn Dingwall, and Sue Bigelow, “A First Look at the Acquisition and Appraisal of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Fonds; SELECT * FROM VANOC_Records AS Archives WHERE Value=”true”.” Archivaria 72 (2011): 93-122. * Groth, Paul, Yolanda Gil, James Cheney, and Simon Miles. “Requirements for Provenance on the Web.” International Journal of Digital Curation 7, no. 1 (2012): 39-56. http://dx.doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v7i1.213. * [OPTIONAL] Fear, Kathleen, and Devan Ray Donaldson. “Provenance and Credibility in Scientific Data Repositories.” Archival Science 12, no. 3 (2012): 319-339.

Week 4: Significant Properties and Preservation Planning (October 15)

Preservation planning is an important component of the OAIS model, and involves both monitoring a preservation environment and its surroundings as well as developing preservation plans for specific types or collections of digital information. Preservation plans must address the significant properties of digital information, which are the characteristics of an information object that must be maintained to ensure that object’s continued access, use, and meaning over time.


  • Harvey, Ross. “Chapter 9: Designing Data.” In Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-It-Manual, 105-114. New York: Neal Schuman, 2010.
  • Harvey, Ross. “Chapter 10: Creating Data.” In Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-It-Manual, 115-130. New York: Neal Schuman, 2010.
  • Knight, Gareth, and Maureen Pennock. “Data without Meaning: Establishing the Significant Properties of Digital Research.” International Journal of Digital Curation 4, no. 1 (2009): 159-174.

http://dx.doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v4i1.86. * Becker, Christoph, Hannes Kulovits, Mark Guttenbrunner, Stephan Strodl, Andreas Rauber and Hans Hofman. “Systematic Planning For Digital Preservation: Evaluating Potential Strategies And Building Preservation Plans.” International Journal on Digital Libraries 10 no. 4 (2009), 133-157. * Dappert, Angela, and Adam Farquhar. “Modelling Organizational Preservation Goals to Guide Digital Preservation.” International Journal of Digital Curation 4, no. 2 (2009), 119-134. http://dx.doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v4i2.102. * Guttenbrunner, Mark, Christoph Becker, and Andreas Rauber. “Keeping the Game Alive: Evaluating Strategies for the Preservation of Console Video Games.” International Journal of Digital Curation 5, no. 1 (2010), 64-90. http://dx.doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v5i1.144. * [OPTIONAL] Yeo, Geoffrey. “‘Nothing is the Same as Something Else’: Significant Properties and Notions of Identity and Originality.” Archival Science 10 (2010): 85-116.

Week 5: Describing and Characterizing Digital Information (October 22)

Assignment Due: Response Paper #2

This week will focus on particular requirements and challenges related to the long-term viability and accessibility of digital information, such as the selection and recording appropriate metadata, or information about the information itself. We will also discuss some issues relating to the viability or obsolescence of file formats.


  • Harvey, Ross. “Chapter 6: Description and Representation Information.” In Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-It-Manual, 65-82. New York: Neal-Schuman, 2010.
  • [OPTIONAL] Gilliland, Anne J. “Setting the Stage.” In Introduction to Metadata, edited by Murtha Baca. 3rd ed. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2008.

http://www.getty.edu/research/publications/electronic_publications/intrometadata/setting.html. * Note: This reading is optional but strongly recommended if you have limited familiarity or experience with metadata. It is a high-level overview and will give you some background information on types of metadata in advance of class. * Wilson, Andrew. “How Much Is Enough: Metadata for Preserving Digital Data.” Journal of Library Metadata 10 (2010), 205-217. * AIMS Work Group. “Chapter 3: Arrangement and Description.” In AIMS Born-Digital Collections: An Inter-Institutional Model for Stewardship, 31-43. 2012. http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/aims/whitepaper/AIMS_final.pdf. * Starr, Joan, and Angela Gastl. “isCitedBy: A Metadata Scheme for DataCite.” D-Lib Magazine 17, no. 1/2 (January/February 2011). http://dx.doi.org/10.1045/january2011-starr. * [SKIM] Caplan, Priscilla. Understanding PREMIS. Washington: Library of Congress, 2009. http://www.loc.gov/standards/premis/understanding-premis.pdf. * [SKIM] Abrams, Stephen. “File Formats.” DCC Digital Curation Manual, edited by Seamus Ross and Michael Day (2007). http://www.dcc.ac.uk/sites/default/files/documents/resource/curation-manual/chapters/file-formats/file-formats.pdf. * [OPTIONAL] Dappert, Angela, and Markus Enders. “Using METS, PREMIS and MODS for Archiving eJournals,” D-Lib Magazine 14, no. 9/10 (September/October 2008). http://dx.doi.org/10.1045/september2008-dappert. * [OPTIONAL] Guenther, Rebecca, and Leslie Myrick. “Archiving Web Sites for Preservation and Access: MODS, METS, and MINERVA.” Journal of Archival Organization 4, no. 1-2 (2007): 141-166.

Week 6: Digital Preservation Strategies (October 29)

Assignment Due: Group Project Part 1

This week focuses on specific strategies for ensuring the longevity of digital information and heavily focuses on case studies. Emulation duplicates the function of a full computer system. Migration involves transforming digital information into a different format than in which it was originally held. We will also discuss the impact of storage media on digital preservation.


  • Harvey, Ross. “Chapter 13: Preserving Data.” In Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-It-Manual, 161-180. New York: Neal Schuman, 2010.
  • Harvey, Ross. “Chapter 14: Storing Data.” In Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-It-Manual, 181-198. New York: Neal Schuman, 2010.
  • Ippolito, Jon. “Accomodating the Unpredictable: The Variable Media Questionnaire.” In Permanence Through Change: The Variable Media Approach, edited by Alain Depocas, Jon Ippolito, and Caitlin Jones, 47-53. New York and Montréal: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Daniel Langlois Foundation, 2003. http://variablemedia.net/pdf/Ippolito.pdf.
  • Rothenberg, Jeff. “Renewing the Erl King.” Millenium Film Journal 45/46 (2006). http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/about/ErlKingReport.pdf.
  • Carroll, Laura. Erika Farr, Peter Hornsby, and Ben Ranker. “A Comprehensive Approach to Born-Digital Archives.” Archivaria 72 (2011): 61-92.
  • Gano, Gretchen, and Julie Linden. “Government Information in Legacy Formats: Scaling a Pilot Project to Enable Long-Term Access.” D-Lib Magazine 13, no. 7/8 (2007).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1045/july2007-linden. * Janée, Greg, James Frew, and Terry Moore. “Relay-supporting Archives: Requirements and Progress.” International Journal of Digital Curation 4, no. 1 (2009), 57-70. http://dx.doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v4i1.78. * [OPTIONAL] Guttenbrunner, Mark and Andreas Rauber. “A Measurement Framework for Evaluating Emulators for Digital Preservation.” ACM Transactions on Information Systems 30, no. 2 (2012): 14:1-14:28.

Week 7: Digital Preservation Policy and Security (November 5)

Assignment Due: Hands-On Exercise

Digital preservation policy frameworks are essential in ensuring the continued operation of a preservation environment within an institution. We will be looking at some examples of guidelines for developing policy as well as policies from specific institutions.


  • Harvey, Ross. “Chapter 7: Preservation Planning and Policy.” In Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-It-Manual, 83-92. New York: Neal Schuman, 2010.
  • Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities. An RLG-OCLC Report. Mountain View, CA: RLG, 2002.

http://www.oclc.org/research/activities/past/rlg/trustedrep/repositories.pdf. * Read pages 1-32, 37-40 and 49-56. * Prom, Christopher. “Making Digital Curation a Systematic Institutional Function.” International Journal of Digital Curation 6, no. 1 (2011), 139-152. http://dx.doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v6i1.178. * Trusted Repositories Audit and Certification: Criteria and Checklist. Center for Research Libraries and OCLC (2007). http://www.crl.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/pages/trac_0.pdf. * Read pages 9-19. * Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. “Digital Preservation Policies and Planning at ICPSR.” (June 20, 2007). http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/content/datamanagement/preservation/policies/. * Read through the following documents linked from the above page: * ICPSR Digital Preservation Policy Framework (read this first before the others!) * Digital Preservation Policy Framework: Outline * OAIS Conformance at ICPSR * Digital Preservation Requirements Applied to ICPSR * Roles and Responsibilities for Digital Preservation at ICPSR * SKIM the following documents linked from the above page: * ICPSR Strategic Plan * ICPSR Collection Development Policy * ICPSR Access Policy Framework * Disaster Planning Policy Framework * [SKIM] Beagrie, Neil, Najla Semple, Peter Williams, and Richard Wright. “Digital Preservation Policies Study: Part 1: Final Report.” (2008). http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/preservation/jiscpolicy_p1finalreport.pdf. * [SKIM] Beagrie, Neil, and Daniel Greenstein. A Strategic Policy Framework for Creating and Preserving Digital Collections. London: Arts and Humanities Data Service, 1998. http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/services/papers/bl/framework/framework.html.

Week 8: Compliance, Auditing, and Certification (November 12)

Assignments Due: Response Paper #3; submission of choice of case study

Certification and auditing are important steps to determine the soundness, resilience, and long-term viability of institutions and programs that undertake digital preservation initiatives. We will look at a few key initiatives that evaluate preservation environments as well as a few case studies.


  • [OPTIONAL] Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities. An RLG-OCLC Report. Mountain View, CA: RLG, 2002.

http://www.oclc.org/research/activities/past/rlg/trustedrep/repositories.pdf. * If you need a refresher, re-read pages 1-16, 33-35, and 49-56 ONLY. No other reading is assigned from this document for this week. * [SKIM] Consultative System for Space Data Systems, Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories. Recommended Practice 652.0-M-1, September 2011. http://public.ccsds.org/publications/archive/652x0m1.pdf. * Center for Research Libraries. “CRL Certification Report on Chronopolis.” March 2012. http://www.crl.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/pages/Chron_Report_2012_final_0.pdf * Ross, Seamus, and Andrew McHugh. “Audit and Certification of Digital Repositories: Creating a Mandate for the Digital Curation Centre (DCC).” RLG DigiNEWS 9, no. 5 (2005). http://eprints.erpanet.org/105/01/Ross_McHugh_auditandcertification_RLG_DigiNews.pdf. * McHugh, Andrew, Seamus Ross, Perla Innocenti, Ravio Ruusalepp, and Hans Hofman. “Bringing Self-Assessment Home: Repository Profiling and Key Lines of Enquiry within DRAMBORA.” International Journal of Digital Curation 3, no. 2 (2008): 130-142. http://dx.doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v3i2.64. * Steinhart, Gail, Dianne Dietrich, and Ann Green. “Establishing Trust in a Chain of Preservation: The TRAC Checklist Applied to a Data Staging Repository (DataStaR).” D-Lib Magazine 15, no. 9/10 (2009). http://dx.doi.org/10.1045/september2009-steinhart. * [OPTIONAL] Vermaaten, Sally, Brian Lavoie, and Priscilla Caplan. “Identifying Threats to Successful Digital Preservation: the SPOT Model for Risk Assessment.” D-Lib Magazine 18, no. 9/10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1045/september2012-vermaaten.

November 19-25 - No Class

Week 9: Resource Allocation and Sustainability (November 26)

Resources are a key component of ensuring the operation of a digital preservation initiative over time. There has been considerable work over the last few years that addresses issues related to the sustainability of preservation programs. We will look at some emerging work in the field, including sustainability analyses and cost models for digital preservation.


  • Lavoie, Brian F. “The Fifth Blackbird: Some Thoughts on Economically Sustainable Digital Preservation.” D-Lib Magazine 14, no. 3/4 (2008).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1045/march2008-lavoie. * Wheatley, Paul, and Brian Hole. “LIFE3: Predicting Long Term Digital Preservation Costs.” Paper presented at iPRES 2009: the Sixth International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects, San Francisco, Ca. (2009). http://escholarship.org/uc/item/23b3225n. * Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet: Ensuring Long-Term Access to Digital Information. Final Report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access (February 2010). http://brtf.sdsc.edu/biblio/BRTF_Final_Report.pdf. * Read chapters 1, 2, 3, and 5. * SKIM chapter 4. * Abrams, Stephen, Patricia Cruse, John Kunze, and Michael Mundrane. Total Cost of Preservation: Cost Modeling for Sustainable Services. Revision 0.16. Oakland: UC Curation Center/California Digital Library, April 9, 2012. https://wiki.ucop.edu/download/attachments/163610649/TCP-total-cost-of-preservation.pdf. * [SKIM] Eakin, Lorraine, Amy Friedlander, Roger Schonfeld and Sayeed Choudhury. “A Selective Literature Review on Digital Preservation Sustainability.” (2008) http://brtf.sdsc.edu/biblio/Cost_Literature_Review.pdf. * [SKIM] Kejser, Ulla Bøgvad, Anders Bo Nielsen, and Alex Thirifays. “Cost Model for Digital Preservation: Cost of Digital Migration.” International Journal of Digital Curation 6, no. 1 (2011): 255-267. http://dx.doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v6i1.186. * [OPTIONAL] Goldstein, Serge J., and Mark Ratliff. “DataSpace: A Funding and Operational Model for Long-Term Preservation and Sharing of Research Data” (2010). http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01w6634361k.

Week 10: Access and User Needs (December 3)

Assignment Due: Case Study Analysis

Access is the driving force behind preservation. This week will address means and requirements of access to preserved digital information.


  • Harvey, Ross. “Chapter 15: Using and Reusing Data.” In Digital Curation: A How-To-Do-It-Manual, 199-216. New York: Neal Schuman, 2010.
  • Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. “Coda: Austin’s Afternoons.” In Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination, 207-211. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2008.
  • AIMS Work Group. “Chapter 4: Discovery and Access.” In AIMS Born-Digital Collections: An Inter-Institutional Model for Stewardship, 44-62. 2012.

http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/aims/whitepaper/AIMS_final.pdf. * Chowdhury, Gobinda. “From Digital Libraries to Digital Preservation Research: The Importance of Users and Context.” Journal of Documentation 66, no. 2 (2010): 207-223. * Hedstrom, Margaret, Christopher Lee, Judith Olson, and Clifford Lampe. “‘The Old Version Flickers More:’ Digital Preservation from the User’s Perspective.” American Archivist 69 (Summer 2006), 159-187. * Choudhury, Sayeed, Mike Furlough, and Joyce Ray, “Digital Curation and E-Publishing: Libraries Make the Connection.” Charleston Conference 2009. http://jhir.library.jhu.edu/handle/1774.2/35005. * [OPTIONAL] Lane, Julia, and Stephanie Shipp. “Using a Remote Access Data Enclave for Data Dissemination.” International Journal of Digital Curation 2, no. 1 (2007): 128-134. http://dx.doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v2i1.20.

December 10 (Exam Week)

Assignments Due: Group Project Parts 2 and 3