Digital Curation’s Dilemma: Contrasting Different Uses, Purposes, Goals, Strategies, and Values

By J. Richard Stevens.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 8, 2014 $US5.00

The creation, storage and presentation of digital artifacts is an increasingly popular area of interest for a wide range of communities. Once an almost proprietary term for museums and library science programs, the term “digital curation” has recently become a buzzword within more generalist communities. Recently, digital curation has become an umbrella concept to describe activities related to digital preservation, data curation, electronic records management, copyright management, digital asset management, data collection, reporting and presentation activities, and even content remixing activities. Yakel (2007) observed four discrete treatments of digital curation in government reports and called for increased attention to the development of the term’s meaning as diverse communities become involved in the dialogue. This article explores the different usages of the term, those usage’s relationships to the attention economy for different groups (for example, journalists use the term to emphasize the attracting near-term attention to ephemeral digital artifacts while librarians emphasize the long-term storage and preservation of digital artifacts), and confusion created by the different agendas of its use. This article explores relevant literature from multiple disciplines and analyzes contemporary media industry sources to consider the differences implied by the term’s use, including the differences in political economy, community goals, perceptions of content life cycles, the utilization of short-tail and long-tail access strategies and even expressed data values.

Keywords: Digital Curation, Journalism, Library Science, Preservation

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 8, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 371.913KB)).

Dr. J. Richard Stevens

Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA

Assistant professor in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Stevens’ research delves into the intersection of ideological formation and media message dissemination. This work comprises studies such as how cultural messages are formed and passed through popular media, how technology infrastructure affects the delivery of media messages, communication technology policy, and related studies in how media and technology platforms are changing American public discourse.


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