Introducing the Digital Records Curation Programme

James Lowry

One of the major successes of the ICA’s Africa Programme to date is its Digital Records Curation Programme (DRCP), a collaboration with the ICA’s Training Programme that has produced teaching materials and built a new international cohort of digital curation educators.  

DRCP has two streams, one Francophone and one Anglophone. This post discusses the Anglophone side of the programme.  

The DRCP is a set of teaching materials covering digital culture and the information society, digital records’ authenticity and reliability, digital and hybrid records management, metadata, file profiling, cloud computing, email management, digital preservation, information security, digital repositories and digital records appraisal, digitization, description and indexing, web and social media archiving and data management. 

The DRCP materials comprise: 

  • Guide, which introduces the structure and terminology of the material 
  • a course handbook (syllabus) that includes readings and resources for students 
  • for each class or workshop, a lesson plan with activities, and a set of presentation slides, which include notes for the instructors. 

The content has been created for low resource environments: we have tried not to make assumptions about access to the internet, high tech equipment, or proprietary software, and instead the materials suggest a range of options for teaching about digital preservation under resource constraints. There is also a focus on open access materials in the reading lists.  

The value of the materials, the cascaded educational model of the archival educators’ study schools in Senegal and Botswana in 2019, and the global scope of the collaboration saw the DRCP receive both the 2020 Digital Preservation Award (Teaching and Communications category) sponsored by the Dutch Digital Heritage Network, and the 2020 Innovation Award from the National Digital Stewardship Alliance. 

The success of the DRCP owes much of its value to Margaret Crockett’s (ICA’s Training Officer) knowledge of principles and practice, experience of international cooperation and eye for detail. The DRCP materials also contain contributions from colleagues around the globe (for a full list, see the Guide to the Materials). 

As digital curation is a rapidly developing field, the DRCP materials will need to be revised and updated periodically, and they could also be expanded in all kinds of ways. Luckily, as a result of the Africa Programme and the support of PCOM, there is a new network of early- and mid-career archivists and archival educators who are already working on envisaging the future of the DRCP.