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Summary: August 2022 Core e-Forum, “Digital Curation: Managing the Full Life Cycle for Digital Assets”

Summary: August 2022 Core e-Forum, “Digital Curation: Managing the Full Life Cycle for Digital Assets”

The August 2022 e-Forum centered on digital assets and was co-hosted by Lindsey Memory, Becca Wiederhold, and Nicole Lewis from Brigham Young University. Several active participants were new to their roles or otherwise trying to flesh out their institution’s digital initiative program.

There are a variety of approaches and systems used to manage the life cycle of digital assets; no one system can do it all. There is a lot of experimentation in collecting and providing access to born-digital materials (one user has had success with Google Drive). Integrating systems through work with developers allows a little more seamless flow from one lifecycle action to another but requires maintenance.

The nature of digital libraries tends towards a “repository ecosystem” rather than reliance on just one system. Systems and tools used by participants include CONTENTdm, ArchivesSpace, Adobe Bridge, Metadata deluxe, Metadata++, ExifTool, locally created plug-ins, and a variety of open-source checksum generation software, among others.

Some of the challenges currently faced include preservation and access for some born-digital items such as email archives, websites, MySQL relational databases. Access is often difficult unless patrons come to the reading room. Staffing is also problematic when trying to grow a digital library program, especially when the path forward remains unclear.

For guiding decisions regarding digital preservation, one institution has a decision-tree document that walks curators through a series of questions to answer legal permissions, availability, and preservation considerations. Another respondent mentioned a tiered approach to digital preservation (low, moderate, high). Promotion of digital preservation, or digital initiatives in general, can include discussion in library-wide meetings, tours of digital labs, or other similar events.

The digital curation lifecycle is complicated and multi-faceted. We appreciated all those who shared their experiences and thoughts with us!

Lindsey Memory, Becca Wiederhold, and Nicole Lewis, e-Forum moderators

Core e-Forums are two-day, moderated, electronic discussion forums that provide an opportunity for librarians and library professionals to discuss matters of interest on an email discussion list. These discussions are free of charge and available to anyone who wishes to subscribe to the email list.