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This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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Curate Digital Content

Keywords:  Preserve

Activity Definition(s)

Once research or creative materials have been obtained or created, and possibly analyzed and considered, they often need to be preserved for future use by the original scholar/artist or others.  Typically the contents and metadata describing the contents are preserved together.

The UK Digital Curation Centre ( website provides this overview:  "Digital curation, broadly interpreted, is about maintaining and adding value to a trusted body of digital information for current and future use. The digital archiving and preservation community now looks beyond the preservation, cataloguing and cross referencing of static digital objects such as documents. The scientific community has data characterised by structure, volatility and scale. These require us to extend our notions of curation. We must also investigate the principles that underlie appraisal, and lessons learnt about the economics of preservation."  This clearly can apply to arts, humanities and interpretive social sciences as well.

Moreover, "Data have importance as the evidential base for scholarly conclusions, and for the validation of those conclusions, a basic tenet of which is reproducibility. Curation is the active management and appraisal of data over the life-cycle of scholarly and scientific interest; it is the key to reproducibility and re-use. This adds value through the provision of context and linkage: placing emphasis on 'publishing' data in ways that ease re-use, with implications for metadata and interoperability."

An excellent overview of the curation lifecycle, including a graphic representation not copied here, is found at  From that document, the following objects and actions are outlined.  (See copyright information at the end of this definition.)

The Curation Lifecycle

The DCC Curation Lifecycle Model provides a graphical high level overview of the stages required for successful curation and preservation of data from initial conceptualisation or receipt. The model can be used to plan activities within an organisation or consortium to ensure that all necessary stages are undertaken, each in the correct sequence. The model enables granular functionality to be mapped against it; to define roles and responsibilities, and build a framework of standards and technologies to implement. It can help with the process of identifying additional steps which may be required, or actions which are not required by certain situations or disciplines, and ensuring that processes and policies are adequately documented.

Data (Digital Objects or Databases)

Data, any information in binary digital form, is at the centre of the Curation Lifecycle. This includes:

Digital Objects: 

- Simple Digital Objects are discrete digital items; such as textual files, images or sound files, along with their related identifiers and metadata.
- Complex Digital Objects are discrete digital objects, made by combining a number of other digital objects, such as websites.

Databases:  Structured collections of records or data stored in a computer system.

Full Lifecycle Actions

Description and Representation Information:

Assign administrative, descriptive, technical, structural and preservation metadata, using appropriate standards, to ensure adequate description and control over the long-term. Collect and assign representation information required to understand and render both the digital material and the associated metadata.

Preservation Planning:

Plan for preservation throughout the curation lifecycle of digital material. This would include plans for management and administration of all curation lifecycle actions.

Community Watch and Participation:

Maintain a watch on appropriate community activities, and participate in the development of shared standards, tools and suitable software.

Curate and Preserve:

Be aware of, and undertake management and administrative actions planned to promote curation and preservation throughout the curation lifecycle.

Sequential Actions


Conceive and plan the creation of data, including capture method and storage options.

Create or Receive:

Create data including administrative, descriptive, structural and technical metadata. Preservation metadata may also be added at the time of creation. Receive data, in accordance with documented collecting policies, from data creators, other archives, repositories or data centres, and if required assign appropriate metadata.

Appraise and Select:

Evaluate data and select for long-term curation and preservation. Adhere to documented guidance, policies or legal requirements.


Transfer data to an archive, repository, data centre or other custodian. Adhere to documented guidance, policies or legal requirements.

Preservation Action:

Undertake actions to ensure long-term preservation and retention of the authoritative nature of data. Preservation actions should ensure that data remains authentic, reliable and usable while maintaining its integrity. Actions include data cleaning, validation, assigning preservation metadata, assigning representation information and ensuring acceptable data structures or file formats.


Store the data in a secure manner adhering to relevant standards.

Access, Use and Reuse:

Ensure that data is accessible to both designated users and reusers, on a day-to-day basis. This may be in the form of publicly available published information. Robust access controls and authentication procedures may be applicable.


Create new data from the original, for example
- By migration into a different format.
- By creating a subset, by selection or query, to create newly derived results, perhaps for publication.

Occasional Actions


Dispose of data, which has not been selected for long-term curation and preservation in accordance with documented policies, guidance or legal requirements. Typically data may be transferred to another archive, repository, data centre or other custodian. In some instances data is destroyed. The data's nature may, for legal reasons, necessitate secure destruction.


Return data which fails validation procedures for further appraisal and reselection.


Migrate data to a different format. This may be done to accord with the storage environment or to ensure the data's immunity from hardware or software obsolescence.


Scholars' Stories (scenarios)

  • LINKS to Scholars' Stories

Tools (examples)

----Optional: examples of tools that perform some part or all of the defined activity, ideally with links to relevant project or vendor web sites

Tool name

What it does

Relevant links













Related Collections/Content (examples)

----Optional: examples of collections / digital content / digital resources that could be involved in part or all of the defined activity, with links to relevant repository or site where available

Collection/content name

Collection/content description

Relevant links













Applicable Standards or Standards Bodies

----Optional: examples of standards or standards-bodies applicable to the defined activity

Standard name / body

What it governs/regulates/standardizes - What it's for

Relevant links

Digital Curation Centre (DCC)

"The purpose of our centre is to provide a national focus for research and development into curation issues and to promote expertise and good practice, both national and international, for the management of all research outputs in digital format."










Notes, comments, related activities, concerns

This was originally titled "Curate digital content (e.g., apply metadata - cf. the "Annotate" theme group)" but in communication with Steve Masover, it was confirmed that this is not limited to the specific part of metadata annotation.

For the copyrighted material quoted here from the Digital Curation Centre, the following terms apply (see

Copyright, Use and Liability

The DCC makes certain statements and claims with respect to the materials we make available via electronic means. Except where an alternative statement or claim is explicitly made in the document or accompanies the material, the following statements are applicable to the material:

The DCC aims to make a large amount of its material easily available under a Creative Commons licence (for further information about Creative Commons see [external]). Where this is the case you will see the following logo:

Except where there is a statement that an alternative Creative Commons licence is being used, materials with the Creative Commons logo will be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial ShareAlike-licence 2.5 Scotland. A summary of its terms [external] is available.

Where Creative Commons is not mentioned normal copyright rules will apply. In this case, unless otherwise acknowledged, all material will be copyright of the Digital Curation Centre (which in this context shall mean one or more of the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, the University of Bath, the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the staff and agents of these parties involved in the work of the Digital Curation Centre).

Statement of Acceptable Use

Educational institutions may reproduce and distribute material for educational use provided credit is given and the copyright notice is retained on any copies made. Commercial use of these materials is prohibited without prior written permission. Where material has been made available under a Creative Commons licence the terms of the relevant licence relating to use shall apply instead.

Whether the normal copyright framework or a Creative Commons licence apply, where use is being made of DCC content we would be grateful if you would take a moment to notify us of such use in order to assist us in assessing our impact. Please address such notifications to We also ask that the name of the DCC not be used in advertising or publicity without specific prior written permission.


While reasonable endeavours will be made to ensure that the information contained on the DCC websites is accurate at the date it was written or added (whichever is most appropriate), we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information and reserve the right to vary without notice any material placed on the DCC servers. The DCC and the Partner Institutions are not liable for any loss or damage arising directly or indirectly from the possession, publication or use of or reliance on that information. In particular the DCC and the Partner Institutions are not responsible for any information on the website that is provided by third parties or for the content of any other website from which you have accessed this website or to which you may hyperlink from this website.

The contents of the DCC websites should not be construed as legal advice. If in doubt you should speak to your professional advisor.

Opinions expressed on DCC websites are those of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of the DCC or the Partner Institutions.

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