Preparing the Workforce for Digital Curation
The massive increase in digital information in the last decade has created new requirements for institutional and technological structures and workforce skills. Preparing the Workforce for Digital Curation focuses on education and training needs to meet the demands for access to and meaningful use of digital information, now and in the future. This study identifies the various practices and spectrum of skill sets that comprise digital curation, looking in particular at human versus automated tasks. Additionally, the report examines the possible career path demands and options for professionals working in digital curation activities, and analyzes the economic benefits and societal importance of digital curation for competitiveness, innovation, and scientific advancement. Preparing the Workforce for Digital Curation considers the evolving roles and models of digital curation functions in research organizations, and their effects on employment opportunities and requirements. The recommendations of this report will help to advance digital curation and meet the demand for a trained workforce.
In December 2011, the Board on Research Data and Information launched its first consensus study titled “Future Career Opportunities and Educational Requirements for Digital Curation.” For the purposes of this study, Digital Curation is defined as the active management and enhancement of digital information assets for current and future use. The study will be performed pursuant to the following statement of task:
- Identify the various practices and spectrum of skill sets that comprise digital curation, looking in particular at human versus automated tasks, both now and in the foreseeable future.
- Examine the possible career path demands and options for professionals working in digital curation activities, and analyze the economic and social importance of these employment opportunities for the nation over time. In particular, identify and analyze the evolving roles of digital curation functions in research organizations, and their effects on employment opportunities and requirements.
- Identify and assess the existing and future models for education and training in digital curation skill sets and career paths in various domains.
- Produce a consensus report with findings and recommendations, taking into consideration the various stakeholder groups in the digital curation community, that address items 1-3 above.
The study is sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. An ad hoc study committee has been appointed by the President of the National Academy of Sciences to conduct the study and write the consensus report.
Study committee meetings
The study committee held its first meeting on 15th and 16th of December, 2011 in Washington, DC. It held its second meeting on 3rd and 4th of May 2012 in Washington, DC. In the second meeting several guest speakers were invited to make presentations and participate in discussions on topics that are relevant to the scope of the study. The speakers were: Lauren Csorny, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor; Nirmala Kannankutty, National Science Foundation; Gail Greenfield, National Research Council; Rachel Frick, Coalition for Library Information Resources; Carole Palmer, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; and Michael Chui, McKinsey Global Institute.
As part of its third meeting, the study committee held a 1-day symposium on July 19, 2012 in Washington DC. The committee invited several experts from the academia, private sector and the governmental agencies to provide their perspectives on digital curation workforce demand, education and training currently, and in the next decade. The symposium was open to the public and all stakeholders in the digital curation field. View the agenda