The importance and need for digital curation has increased significantly in recent years owing to the myriad of risks facing digital assets, which include problems of hardware and software obsolescence, media fragility, rapid technological developments, and lack of sufficient metadata. Additionally, digital records face risks of improper handling, corruption and alteration, unauthorized access, accidental erasure, among other problems (Greizter et al 2014:237-8). This necessitates the need to educate and train information professionals on digital curation skills, a challenge that the ICA Education Programme has taken up with the focus being majorly on the African continent. The ICA Africa Programme successfully held its first course of Digital Records Curation Programme (DRCP) – Study School for Archival Educators in Gaborone, at the University of Botswana, from the 5th to the 9th August 2019. I was privileged to be amongst the team of participants chosen from nine universities in Africa.
After the training I wrote a report to the Dean, School of Information Sciences, Moi University – Prof. Justus Wamukoya – wherein I recommended the integration of a digital records curation course into the School curriculum. On 4-6th November 2019 I attended the 3rd Records Management Conference organized by KARMA, The Kenya National Archives and Documentation Service (KNADS) and the Association of Commonwealth Archivists and Records Managers (ACARM) held in Mombasa, Kenya. During the conference, James Lowry and I facilitated a session on digital records curation for over 200 delegates, including staff from Kenya National Archives and Documentation Services (KNADS). Thereafter I and four other colleagues from Botswana study school (Dr. Lydiah Mosweu, Dr. Forget Chaterera, Dr. John Ayodele and Dr. Thatayone Segaetsho) were invited by KARMA to virtually train a group of 300 record-keeping practitioners in Kenya on digital records preservation from 15th to 24th July 2020, using the content from the study school. Thus, the knowledge gained from Botswana study school has continued to be useful in addressing the challenges faced by records managers and archivists in Kenya as they expand their role to embrace digital curation.
Juliet A. Erima is a Records and Archives Management educator at Moi University School of Information Sciences, Kenya, a member of the Kenya Association of Records Managers and Archivists (KARMA) and an individual member of the International Council on Archives (ICA).