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International Journal of Digital Curation Vol.6,2

International Journal of Digital Curation, Volume 6, Issue 2

UKOLN has recently published Volume 6, Issue 2 (2011) of the International Journal of Digital Curation on behalf of the Digital Curation Centre. In his editorial, Chief Editor and Director of the DCC Kevin Ashley collects the eighteen papers – of which eleven are drawn from recent conferences – into four thematic groups.

Education is addressed directly by two papers, with a particular focus on how digital curation curricula and publications prepare (or perhaps fail to prepare) students for a career in the field. Attention is drawn to the perceived gulf in curation publications between research literature which is sometimes seen as over-theoretical and practice publications that display too narrow a scope. The Editor points out that the International Journal of Digital Curation attempts to close that gulf where it can. As if to prove its didactic credentials, this issue of the Journal also contains excellent overviews of the history of digital curation and of data citation.

For practising data curators, there are several papers that describe promising technologies and methods. Topics range from format normalisation and rule-based metadata extraction, to analytically derived preservation plans and data sharing via the semantic web. There is even a paper describing a curation-enabled virtual research environment.

Many of the papers in Volume 6, Issue 2 will interest those looking to improve research data management at an institutional level. The exemplars they present include a university-wide policy for managing research data and a programme of one-to-one support, training and guidance documentation. There is also a wealth of advice that can be gleaned from accounts of designing and embedding institutional services in accordance with the needs of researchers, and indeed from a study of researcher attitudes to data management.

Finally, Kevin introduces three specialist curation papers. One describes curation challenges in the area of telehealth, a topic with implications for developed and developing countries alike. The other two describe approaches to preserving video games and virtual worlds, respectively. These latter topics are not new to the Journal but, as Kevin points out, they have been somewhat neglected by the digital curation community generally. Given that the importance of games, both in terms of cultural heritage and in the contribution that they have made to the economy, can hardly be described as negligible, it is not surprising that the Editor considers them to deserve greater attention.

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