Digital Curation


Digital Curation — MLIS Career Pathway

Digital curation is defined as the selection, collection, maintenance, preservation, and archiving of digital assets.

Digital curation originally referred to the process of establishing and developing trusted digital repositories for research data that can be used by current and future scientists, historians, and scholars. But business enterprises also utilize digital curation to preserve, share, and add value to their digital data and objects in order to improve their operational and strategic processes. Successful digital curation ensures digital objects remain understandable, accessible, usable and safe over time and beyond the limits of technical obsolescence.

The unprecedented expansion of the digital universe requires the expertise of professionals with skills and knowledge to provide long-term stewardship of digital assets.

Employment Opportunities

Students who concentrate in this pathway may work as:

  • Data/Digital Curators
  • Data/Digital Curation Librarians
  • Data/Digital Steward
  • Data/Digital Services Specialist
  • Data/Digital Archivists
  • Data/Digital Assets Managers
  • Data/Digital Curation Archivists
  • Data/Digital Collections Managers
  • Data/Digital Humanities Librarian
  • Data/Digital Repository Analyst
  • Data/Digital Preservation Specialist
  • Data/Digital Preservation Managers
  • Humanities Curator
  • Image Resources Coordinator
  • Informatics/data Services Specialists
  • Metadata Librarians
  • Scientific Data Curator
  • Spatial Data Analyst/Curators

MLIS Skills at Work

The MLIS Skills at Work includes important trends and data that are needed to prepare for career advancement within the information professions. The following information within the report relates directly to the digital curation career path. However, slides #12 through #15 showcase/highlight the skills most valuable to employers.

  • See the MLIS Skills at Work report, slides #5 through #8 for more detailed information about hiring trends and slide #21 for representative job titles
  • See slide #27 to view sample job titles, job duties, job skills, and technology/standards for digital initiatives, integration and management
  • See also slides #25 (Collection, Acquisition and Circulation) and #24 (Cataloging and Metadata) for additional roles within this career pathway

Core Theory and Knowledge

  • Undertaking actions to promote curation and preservation of digital data and objects throughout the data lifecycle.
  • Identifying, using and evaluating current and emerging digital curation technologies
  • Conceptualizing and planning the creation and storage of digital data and objects.
  • Determining specifications for a trusted digital repository or a digital archives/preservation service.
  • Identifying key concepts and standards in digital preservation.
  • Working with information assurance frameworks and risk management planning structures to ensure that an organization’s information resources and assets are protected.
  • Managing records as operational, legal and historical evidence in electronic environments.

MLIS Requirements

The MLIS program requires 43 units for graduation. Within those units, six courses (16 units) are required of all MLIS students and must be taken as part of all career pathways: INFO 203, INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204, INFO 285, and either INFO 289 or INFO 299. Beyond those six courses, a student is free to select electives reflecting individual interests and aspirations. 

If you are interested in this career pathway, you may choose to select from the foundation or recommended course electives listed below. Foundation courses form the foundational knowledge and skills for this pathway. If you can only select a few electives, then choose from the foundation courses. The recommended courses are very relevant, but not as foundational to this career pathway.

The career pathway described here is provided solely for advising purposes. No special designation appears on your transcript or diploma. All students get an MLIS degree.

Faculty pathway advisors are available to help guide you and answer questions about planning a career in their area of expertise. Learn more about faculty pathway advisors.

Recommended Coursework

Required Courses:

Foundation Courses:

Recommended Courses:

Select three electives from the following:

Note: Depending on the background and experience of the student, other elective options may include:

Effective leadership and management (of people and information) is critically important for all types of work environments and clients.

We recommend that students consider also selecting some courses from the Leadership and Management Career Path to complement or supplement core skills in other areas.

Learn More

  • Learn more about this career pathway, including insights from a faculty expert, in an iStudent Blog post about the Digital Curation Career Pathway.
  • Read Community Profiles of students and alumni pursuing this career pathway.
  • Browse presentations by professionals working in the field.
  • Search the Alumni Career Spotlight for alumni working in this field. Consider contacting alumni for an informational interview.