Short report from the DigCCurr 2007 International Symposium on Digital Curation

Michael Day
UKOLN, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, United Kingdom


Draft of event report prepared for publication in DCC e-News, the Digital Curation Centre's Associates Network newsletter ( A longer version will appear in the next issue of the International Journal of Digital Curation (

Version 0.1 (17 July 2007)


DigCCurr 2007 International Symposium on Digital Curation, Chapel Hill, N.C., April 18-20, 2007

In April, several DCC colleagues attended the DigCCurr 2007 International Symposium on Digital Curation held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The DigCCurr project ( is concerned with the development of a graduate-level curriculum that would enable students to work successfully in the digital preservation field. Accordingly, all speakers at the symposium were asked to focus on what digital curators do and what they need to know.

The event was very well attended, with around 300 delegates. Three sessions were held in plenary, the first two dealing with definitions of digital curation and the views of national libraries and archives, the third comprising a synthesis of symposium topics by Clifford Lynch of the Coalition for Networked Information. Others were held concurrently; in total comprising twenty-one separate sessions dealing either with the specific needs of different stakeholder types (e.g. research libraries, funding bodies, researchers) or investigating selected digital curation topics in more detail (e.g. repository design, ingest, collection development).

The existence of so many parallel sessions means that it is difficult to produce a definitive summing-up, but three topics seemed to be raised repeatedly. The first of these was the ongoing need for collaboration, e.g. the sharing of expertise, policy frameworks, tools and infrastructure services, both within individual institutions and as part of regional, national or supra-national networks. While collaboration has been recognised as being fundamentally important to digital preservation for some time, it is important not to underestimate how difficult it can be to do this successfully, given fragmented (and uncertain) funding frameworks and the perceived risks associated with dependence on services controlled by third parties. A second point made by several speakers was that, while there would remain a need for technical knowledge and expertise, successful curation demanded a wide range of other skills, e.g. more generic ones relating to collection development, rights negotiation, the identification of user needs and the development of business cases. Thirdly, several speakers argued that in an ever changing and uncertain world, traditional professional values (e.g. from the archives and information science domains) would remain essential for providing a consistent conceptual framework for dealing with future preservation needs.

A more detailed report from the symposium will appear in a future issue of the International Journal of Digital Curation ( A variety of symposium materials, including programme, abstracts, papers and presentation slides, are available from the DigCCurr 2007 Web site (

Michael Day
UKOLN, University of Bath

[Some photographs of Chapel Hill are available elsewhere on these pages]

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