I am currently taking part in a Digital Curation MOOC with UCL and I thought I would share my response to one of the assignments. It asked us to try and identify how the wider digital environment has impacted on our own activities, and our interest in digital curation.
I remember using computers at primary school as a treat, and in secondary school during IT classes (where they still had the old-fashioned printers that printed on that square paper with holes perforated on each side!). As my dad was a teacher, I was able to go to his primary school after school on a weekday to use his classroom computer to process work. However, it wasn’t until my family got a computer when I was about fourteen that I started to use the computer regularly for schoolwork as well as personal things.
This point marked the biggest change in how I worked as I began to routinely word-process my assignments from that point on. I also began to use the Internet, although we only had dial-up for several years, so I kept having to come off so that my parents could use the phone!
As a librarian, technological developments have made my profession easier in many respects, but have also brought their own challenges. As I currently work with a VLE (Blackboard), my job would actually not exist were it not for technological development.
Looking through the technological development timeline, I was reminded of all the developments that got lost along the way, superseded by something better within a very short time. I still have a Minidisc player and an APS camera lying around somewhere, as well as a personal electronic organiser that I used during my A Levels to write my essays before I got a laptop. I remember my college friends were rather envious of it!
Where does my interest in digital curation come from? Well, I am a librarian – therefore I’m interested in all issues surrounding the organisation and management of information – and digital curation at its simplest is really the digital side of this, in contrast to the cataloguing and classification of physical material. As our world becomes ever more digital, digital curation becomes even more important as a way of ensuring the preservation and conservation of the increasing range of electronic materials.