Introduction to Digital Curation MOOC at UCL (Week 2): A Wider Context for Digital Curation

This is my first post relating to an online course I am taking, Introduction to Digital Curation, which is being hosted by the University College of London. This class looks at what digital curation is, what it does for us, and what it can do for us. During the first week of class content, we were asked to discuss our first contact with computers and how they have affected our lives and our work. The instructor of this course defines digital curation as both a) the ongoing management for use of digital material and b) an emerging trans-disciplinary field with no firm boundaries or established best practice. I think this is pretty good definition of what digital curation is; it is open-ended enough to encompass a number of different interpretations–much like the definition of digital humanities.

When did you first use a computer?

I first used a computer in the early-mid 1990s at home and in elementary school.

When did computers and/or digital material start to impact on what you do? How have they impacted on what you do?

Computers didn’t really start to have an impact on my life until the end of elementary school/early-middle school. I learned how to use word processors and the Internet, which impacted how I did school work and did research for school assignments.

Now, as computers and digital media have been so helpful to access journal articles, museum/archival collections, and web-tools that have allowed me to research artworks and museums across the globe and to connect with other scholars. I have been involved in digitization projects where I have digitized photographs and audio, and used metadata to make these projects searchable. I have also created online exhibitions from digitized materials.

Have they made what you do harder or easier? Why?

Computers have made my life as a student much easier, but it has also made it harder. Computers have made research easier, but it has also made it harder to find relevant material that is scholarly and reputable. There has been an information overflow which needs to be ameliorated with proper metadata and information curation in databases, etc.

Is there a technological development that has had a siginificant impact on what you do that is not mentioned on the timelines? If so, what was it?
Do you remember any of the events mentioned on the timelines as being particularly significant for you or what you do? In what way?

I remember when Google was launched in 1999. That was a pretty big deal in making digital information more accessible and searchable.

From where does your concern with or interest in digital curation stem?

I recently completed an MA in Art History with a specialization in the Digital Humanities where I was introduced to some aspects of digital curation. I am very interested in how museums and archives are conducting digitization projects and using digital media to make their collections more accessible, and I’m also interested in the continued preservation of digital materials during their lifespans (in particular in relation to digital artworks).

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