Digital Preservation

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Academic Year: 


Course ID and Name: 

Section Number: 

Course Syllabus

Course Prerequisites: 

For DigIn students, there are no prerequisites for this course. For SIRLS M.A. students taking this course as an elective, IRLS 504 is the sole prerequisite. Otherwise, students may register with the permission of the instructor.

Course Description: 

This three-credit course is one of six required for completion of the Certificate in Digital Information Management (DigIn). This course introduces the fundamental technical and organizational problems associated with long-term digital preservation. It gives students a thorough orientation to the techniques and standards that have been developed to address long-term preservation concerns. The course also assesses the current state of the art in digital preservation, and examines research and development challenges facing the discipline.

Course Objective: 

—Orient you to the field of digital preservation and the basic problems it addresses.

—Familiarize you with key technical and organizational strategies for preserving digital objects.

—Bring you up-to-date on current efforts to build preservation repositories and sustainable preservation programs.

—Offer historical perspective on how preservationists have addressed key problems, and suggestions on what direction the field may be moving in the near future.

Required Course Materials: 


All readings for this course will be available online. The majority can be accessed openly on the Web. Some will be available only through the UA Library’s e-journal databases. A small number of readings may be made available through D2L, for educational purposes as outlined by the fair use doctrine.

This course tends to have a substantial number of assigned readings, but please note that students are not expected to absorb and recall all of the contents of each reading. Instead, students will be expected to show mastery of the key ideas or main points of each reading, as presented in the lecture.

At the beginning of each unit I will give you detailed instructions that in many cases will limit the number of sections or pages you are required to read, and as noted above, I often make last-minute substitutions or deletions for that week’s readings. Finally, keep in mind that all readings labeled as “supplemental” are strictly optional.


Course Requirements: 


This course is taught entirely online through UA’s D2L platform, and yet it’s structured like a traditional university course, with a weekly schedule of readings and required class discussion. So while the course is taught asynchronously (so you will not be required to log in at any specific time), this is not a self-paced course, and students are expected to keep up with the weekly schedule and to log in to D2L—and to check your D2L email inbox—regularly.

The course content itself is divided into 12 weekly units. On Wednesday of each week, I will post lecture notes, a podcast, a reading list, and sample discussion questions. As a guideline, the lecture and accompanying readings for each unit should be read within four days, giving you three days to complete the assignment each week.

For each unit, students will be required to contribute to a graded discussion forum that will be set up for each unit. Guidelines for discussion postings are given below. Besides the weekly discussion assignment, students will be required to complete a semester project during the course, based on guidelines that will be distributed early in the semester.

Finally, please note that because this course covers a rapidly evolving field, I will be revising the reading list and other course content on a week-by-week basis through the semester. Thus, the course outline posted at the beginning of the semester is the list for Spring 2010 and, as such, it should be taken as a preview of the topics we’ll be covering but not an exact list of required readings for each week. Naturally, you are welcome to read ahead if you wish, but note that I make every effort to come up with a manageable set of readings for each week.


Course Grading: 

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences