Graduate Certificate

Digital Curation


Person using tablet with information in front of a laptop screen

Gain the technical knowledge and skills needed to create, curate, preserve, and manage digital collections in a fast-changing environment.

About the Program

The rapid growth of digital collections and online services has led to a shortage of information professionals who possess the technical knowledge and learning skills needed to create, curate, preserve and manage digital collections in a fast-changing environment.

The Digital Curation graduate certificate program helps fill this gap by combining intensive, hands-on technology learning with a thorough grounding in the theoretical principles needed to curate and preserve large, complex digital collections. The program can be taken online, making it available to those currently employed or seeking new career opportunities in the information professions.

The curriculum takes a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to curating and preserving digital information and is designed to support a wide range of career paths, especially involving libraries, museums, archives, records management and data curation.

Graduate certificates are being recognized as a means for professionals with advanced degrees to update their knowledge and skills. The Digital Curation certificate also offers a path for those with undergraduate degrees who are interested in digital collections, but who may not yet be ready to commit to a full degree program.

Required Courses

All coursework for the Digital Curation certificate is conducted online, with no residency requirement. The certificate consists of 5 semester-long graduate-level courses to be taken within 4 years. You can begin the program in the fall or spring semesters each year. A total of 15 units is required for completion of the program.

Courses do not have to be taken in numerical order, although the Capstone is normally taken last.

This course will address the impact of technology on the fundamentals of libraries, archives and records management. Many librarians, archivists and records managers who have been working for even a few years find that they need to know more about working with digital information, the shift from paper to electrons caused a shift in the fundamental nature of the professions. To thrive in the digital era, they need new skills to accomplish many of the same tasks. Collections will no longer be physical, bur virtual. Patrons will often be thousands of miles away, not just the other side of the reference desk. This course is intended to help you understand this new environment.

This course provides a basic understanding of technology in the digital information environment along with an introduction to practical hands-on skills needed to manage digital information. The course combines reading, discussion, collaboration, project work, independent study, and guided hands-on practice. The course covers the basic installation, setup and maintenance of key systems found in the digital information environment today. Linux is used as a foundation for learning while drawing parallels to the Windows server operating system, Unix operating systems, and other operating systems.

This course provides you with a basic understanding of the theory and practical approaches to the management of information and technology in the digital information environment. Management topics considered in this course range from the strategic (planning, leadership, and policy development) to the tactical (project management, the acquisition and deployment of technology). The course combines reading, discussion, collaboration, project work, independent study, and guided hands-on practice in order to reinforce the concepts described in the project objectives.

This 3-credit course is the last of 5 required for completion of the Certificate in Digital Information Management. LIS 676 is designed to give students experience working on a major project that will utilize the hands-on as well as theoretical learning acquired through the DigIn courses. Capstone projects should make a significant contribution to an organization that hosts digital collections, such as a library, archives, or museum, or it should make a significant research contribution involving some aspect of digital curation or digital libraries, and should be clearly designed to highlight your abilities and career goals.

Elective Requirement

Choose one - 3 units

Most of the web data today consists of unstructured text. Of course, the fact that this data exists is irrelevant, unless it is made available such that users can quickly find information that is relevant for their needs. This course will cover the fundamental knowledge necessary to build such systems, such as web crawling, index construction and compression, boolean, vector-based, and probabilistic retrieval models, text classification and clustering, link analysis algorithms such as PageRank, and computational advertising. The students will also complete one programming project, in which they will construct one complex application that combines multiple algorithms into a system that solves real-world problems.  Graduate level requirements include implementing more complex, state-of-the-art algorithms for the programming project, which might require additional reading of research articles. Written assignments will have additional questions for graduate students.

This course covers theory, methods, and techniques widely used to design and develop a relational database system and students will develop a broad understanding of modern database management systems. Applications of fundamental database principles in a stand-alone database environment using MS Access and Windows are emphasized. Applications in an Internet environment will be discussed using MySQL in the Linux platform. Graduate-level requirements include a group project consisting of seven sections: Database Design; Implementation (Tables); Forms; Data Retrieval (Queries/Reports); Project Presentation; Project Report; and, Peer Evaluation.

Organizing information in electronic formats requires standard machine-readable languages. This course covers recent standards including XML (eXtensible Markup Language) and related technologies (XPath and XSLT) which are used widely in current information organization systems. Building on a sounding understanding of XML technologies, the course also introduces students to newer standards that support the development of the Semantic Web. These standards include RDF (Resource Description Framework), RDFS (RDF Schema), and OWL (Web Ontology Language) and their application under the Linked Data paradigm. While the application of many specific XML schemas used in libraries and other information setting such as science and business will be used to provide the context for various topics, the main focus of the course is on understanding the concepts of XML and Semantic Web technologies and on applying practical skills in various settings, including but not limiting to libraries. The course is heavy with hands-on assignments and requires students complete a final group project.

This three-credit course is one of six required for completion of the Certificate in Digital Information Management (DigIn). This course will provide an in-depth look at the processes involved in building and managing digital collections and institutional repositories. The course will have a strong hands-on component in which students will apply advanced resource description methods to a collection, and then build a prototype repository along with a basic access system. Students will also analyze and discuss case examples of digital collections, focusing on technology management issues and organizational strategies for building different types of collections.

{Taught off numbered years} Focuses on development and maintenance of healthcare databases for application in solving healthcare problems. Design methods, database structures, indexing, data dictionaries, retrieval languages and data security are presented.

Technology Requirements

This program requires access to a computer and Internet connectivity with specifications beyond the minimum requirements for most School of Information courses. Make sure you can meet the technical requirements to make sure you have the necessary hardware, software, and network connectivity.

There are no formal prerequisites for the certificate program, but you should already be reasonably proficient at finding resources on the Web and performing routine tasks using word processors and spreadsheets. You should feel comfortable with your current operating system (e.g. Windows or Mac OS) and know how to create and organize files and folders, install and configure peripherals such as printers and other hardware devices and do basic troubleshooting when problems occur.

Some courses in this program will require:

  • A Windows (Win7/Win8/Win10) or Intel-based Mac (OS-X ) computer that you have administrator rights on to install virtualization software.
  • Reliable broadband Internet connectivity (typically cable or DSL connections; download speeds of one megabit or more are preferred).
  • At least 20GB of free hard drive space or access to second internal or USB external hard drive)
  • A minimum of 2GB RAM for Mac or 3GB RAM for Windows 7/8/10 systems. Depending on individual configurations, you may need to install more than these minimums. 

At least 2 weeks prior to the start of the program, you should contact the instructor and provide a list of the equipment you propose to use. If you have questions about any particular item, especially ones you might need to purchase, your instructor will be happy to review your selections and suggest options.

Course Sharing

Up to 12 units can be shared between the Digital Curation certificate and Master's degree. Up to 6 units can be shared between the Digital Curation certificate and Archives certificates. Units cannot be triple-dipped, that is, shared among all 3 programs.