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Digital Curation at the University of Maine

University of Maine

United States

Learning Objectives
The curriculum's conceptual trajectory traces the stages that a curator might follow when caring for an artifact and its data, from initial acquisition to long-term preservation.
1. Acquisition
Related themes: digitization, recording, selection, law
This course prepares students for acquiring artifacts and their related data, as well as creating digital versions of analog artifacts.

New course: DIG 500: Collection Management and Curation
Students learn both technical skills such as how to digitize analog documents, photographs, and recorded media videos, as well as curatorial knowledge such as how selection criteria vary as a function of type of institution (archives v. libraries v. museums) and field (art v. archeology). The course also covers methods for ensuring the ongoing integrity of the artifact. The course also reviews laws governing the acquisition and use of intellectual property, such as how copyright extends to images, editions, and future versions of a work. 3 credits.

SIE 525: Information Systems Law
Current and emerging status of computer law in electronic environments: rights of privacy, freedom of information, confidentiality, work product protection, copyright, security, legal liability; impact of law on use of databases and spatial datasets; legal options for dealing with conflicts and adaptations of law over time. Prerequisites & Notes: Graduate standing or instructor permission. 3 credits.

2. Representation
Related themes: documentation, metadata
This course/s would survey current standards for describing and encoding artifacts in terms that aid their future discovery or preservation.
New course: DIG 510: Metadata Systems and Markup Languages
This course covers digital formats for describing the contents and contexts of artifacts with an emphasis on their use in libraries, archives, and online repositories. The syllabus includes both particular metadata standards such as Dublin Core and OAI as well as their expression in different markup languages such as HTML, XML, and RDF. 3 credits.

3. Access
Related themes: database, collection, presentation, network
This course covers the technical means and social consequences of assembling and sharing cultural data and artifacts. Topics can include the fundamentals of relational databases; a survey of collection management packages, both proprietary and open-source; case studies of Web-based collection portals--their successes and failures; and centralized and distributed paradigms for inter-institutional networks (ARTStor, OAI, Semantic Web, Metaserver).
Courses that may fulfill this requirement include:
New course: DIG 540 Database Management
SIE 507: Information Systems Software Engineering / COS 480: Database Management Systems

4. Preservation
Related themes: obsolescence, conservation, media formats
This course/s would acquaint students with the challenges of, and best practices for, preserving digital artifacts. Topics can include a survey of the (sometimes bewildering) array of formats for digital media, along with their vulnerabilities and half-lives; analysis of various preservation strategies (storage, migration, emulation, reinterpretation); institutional, legal, and practical impediments to preservation; preservation standards and resources for digital media (Media Matters, Variable Media Questionnaire).
Courses that may fulfill this requirement include:
NMD550: Variable Media Preservation

5. Internship
Related themes: fieldwork, placement, community
This course would offer students the opportunity to work directly with an institution in the field to research and implement a solution for one or more of the stages of digital curation. A dedicated instructor might supervise a period of directed reading followed by fieldwork.
Teaching resources available: Students can choose from numerous courses already on the books depending on their interests and the opportunities available:

MSE 497: Independent Study in Museum Studies/Museum Education
Advanced independent study or research and writing projects in Museum Studies, Museum Education or related areas. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites & Notes: MSE 200 or permission of instructor. 1-3 credits

SIE 590: Information Systems Internship
Utilization of knowledge gained from the information systems graduate program within a business, non-profit or government organization and acquisition of practical training. See also some of the internship opportunities provided by collaborating businesses and agencies in Maine. Prerequisites & Notes: Successful completion of nine credits of required courses in the MSIS program. 3-6 credits

NMD 597: Independent Study in New Media
Graduate level study and research in New Media or related areas directed by a graduate faculty member in New Media. Prerequisites & Notes: Graduate Standing and permission. 3 credits

HTY 597: Field Work in Historical Institutions
Field work in local museums, state agencies, and other historic laboratories. Involves preparation and repair of exhibits, research and preparation of historic preservation documents, and beginning archival and artifact handling. Prerequisites & Notes: graduate students, senior history majors and others by permission. 3 credits.

6. Elective
To achieve a cumulative course load of 18 credits, students can choose from a number of approved electives for their sixth course, including these courses:

BUA 335: Principles of Management Information Systems
Introduces students to principles of management information systems. Topics include overviews of current and emerging technologies and systems, database design, distributed systems, networks and telecommunications, decision support systems, systems development and functional applications. Prerequisites & Notes: COS 211 or COS 220 or permission; junior standing. 3 credits.

COS 430: Introduction to Cybersecurity
An overview of Cybersecurity as information security, policies, guidelines, and legal issues; the nature of network and computer attacks, system vulnerabilities and defense; implementation issues in Unix/Linux. Projects include system setup, attack, and defense. Prerequisites & Notes: COS 335 and COS 431. 3 credits.

EDT 545: Information Security in the Educational Environment
Covers privacy and security in the educational environment from several perspectives: legal issues, social and ethical concerns, standards and policy development. Prerequisites & Notes: EDT 520 or permission of instructor. 3 credits.

INT 400: Pop! Tech: The Impact of Technology on Society
A unique, interdisciplinary, online experience designed around the annual Pop! Tech Conference in Camden, Maine. Explores the impact of technology on society, environment, governance, ethics, and other aspects of our personal, professional, and civic lives -- both for our world today and the future we have a hand in shaping. Prerequisites & Notes: Junior standing or permission. 3 credits.

PAA 516: Information Technology and Public Policy
Impact and design of information systems in public and non-profit organizations. Prerequisites & Notes: Graduate Students or permission. 3 credits.

SIE 515: Human Computer Interaction
Students are introduced to the fundamental theories and concepts of human-computer interaction (HCI). Topics covered include: interface design and evaluation, usability and universal design, multimodal interfaces (touch, gesture, natural language), virtual reality, and spatial displays. Prerequisites & Notes: SIE or MSIS graduate student or permission of instructor. 3 credits.

SIE 550: Engineering Databases and Information Systems
Theoretical foundation for the representation of knowledge in information systems and logic-based programming as a tool for fast prototyping. Object-oriented modeling and database schema design for engineering applications. Database management systems and their suitability for engineering data, transaction concepts and query languages, including SQL. Prerequisites & Notes: Graduate standing or permission of instructor.
Target Audience1
Managerial , Practical
Contact E-Mail, or call Jon Ippolito at 207 581-4477.

Due to launch in autumn, 2012.

There is a growing need in many areas of the public and private sector for better understanding of and training in the selection, preservation, maintenance, and archiving of digital resources. This program will provide an important and innovative skill-set for employees and employers that prepares them to address pressing data and material management issues while positioning them and their business or institution for the future.

This innovative distance learning program should appeal to anyone working in an archive, museum, library, studio, business, or government office where the management of digital assets is important. Students will learn how to digitize, make accessible via database and Web site, and preserve digital assets ranging from videotapes to photographs to textual records.

The Digital Curation curriculum offers students the opportunity to complete a course of study leading to a certificate, or to choose individual courses most relevant to their interests and career. The curriculum's wide-spectrum approach to the subject of collection management in the digital age may be especially appealing to small-scale institutions, whose staff is often required to offer both cultural and technical support.

1. Based on DPOE audience levels.

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