Volume 5 Issue 1
Spring 2009
ISSN 1937-7266

The DCC Curation Lifecycle Model

Sarah Higgins

Digital Curation Centre
University of Edinburgh
Appleton Tower, Crichton Street
United Kingdom
+44 (0)131 650 6604

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The scientific record and documentation of heritage are increasingly created in digital form. The UK based Digital Curation Centre (DCC) supports institutions that store, manage and preserve digital data to help ensure its enhancement and continuing long-term use.

The DCC Curation Lifecycle Model, and accompanying explanatory text, provides a graphical high-level overview of the stages required for successful curation and preservation of digital assets. It can be used by any discipline as a planning tool for curation and preservation activities such as: the identification of roles and responsibilities; building a framework of standards and technologies to implement; and ensuring that processes and policies are adequately documented. The model is not exhaustive. Additional stages may be required and some stages may not be appropriate, depending on the situation or discipline in which curation is being undertaken. Identifying these is an important early planning activity when using the tool.

Since its publication in June 2008[1] the DCC has been using the model to support a number of its activities. It is used to structure the introductory training workshop for curation practitioners, DCC Digital Curation 101; by the project DCC DIFFUSE Standards Frameworks to contextualise the standards used by different domains in their curation activities; and to analyse both content and stakeholders in existing UK curation policies to identify gaps.[2] Meanwhile researchers for the DCC SCARP Project have been using it in various case studies to help identify the specific curation problems experienced by different disciplines, and how to address the risks these present for data reusability.[3]

The DCC Curation Lifecycle Model is also being used by a number of organisations and projects to inform their work. Examples of its use follow. The UK Research Data Feasibility Study (UKRDS) [4] uses it to consider the methodologies and IT capabilities required for a national research data service. The University of Oxford Research Data Management Project identified areas of their service which needed further development by mapping the Model against their Framework of Research Data Management Services.[5] The Model is being used to recommend the development of Digital Curation education in the UK.[6] In the US it is being taught in a number of Library and Information Science programmes, and has been used to identify gaps and overlaps in the developments of the Digital Library Curriculum Project and the Digital Curation Curriculum Project (DigCCurr).


[1] Higgins, Sarah (2008), The DCC Curation Lifecycle Model, The International Journal of Digital Curation Issue 1, Volume 3, 2008, pp 134-140

[2] Jones, Sarah (2009), A Report on the Range of Policies Required for and Related to Digital Curation, Digital Curation Centre - http://dcc.ac.uk/docs/reports/DCC_Curation_Policies_Report.pdf (accessed 29 April 2009)

[3] Whyte, Angus (2008), Curating Brain Images in a Psychiatric Research Group: Infrastructure and Preservation Issues, SCARP Case Study No. 1, Digital Curation Centre other case study publications pending on the DCC SCARP Project website.

[4] UKRDS (2009), The Data Imperative: Managing the UKs Research Data for Future Use: a Summary of the Report of the UK Research Data Service Feasibility Study

[5] Martinez-Uribe, Luis (2008), Research Data Management Services: Findings of the Consultation with Service Providers: Scoping Digital Repository Services for Research Data Management - http://www.ict.ox.ac.uk/odit/projects/digitalrepository/docs/ConsultationWithOxfordServiceProviders.pdf (accessed 29 April 2009)

[6] Swan, Alma and Brown, Sheridan (2008), The Skills, Role and Career Structure of Data Scientists and Curators: an Assessment of Current Practice and Future Needs: A Report to the JISC, Key Perspectives - http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/digitalrepositories/dataskillscareersfinalreport.pdf (accessed 29 April 2009) and Lyon, Liz (2009), Digital Britain Interim Report: a Response from UKOLN - http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/UKOLN_DBIRResponse.pdf (accessed 29 April 2009)