Digital Curation Bibliography: Preservation and Stewardship of Scholarly Works

The "digital curation" and "digital stewardship" concepts are still evolving.

In "Digital Curation and Trusted Repositories: Steps toward Success," Christopher A. Lee and Helen R. Tibbo define digital curation as follows:

Digital curation involves selection and appraisal by creators and archivists; evolving provision of intellectual access; redundant storage; data transformations; and, for some materials, a commitment to long-term preservation. Digital curation is stewardship that provides for the reproducibility and re-use of authentic digital data and other digital assets. Development of trustworthy and durable digital repositories; principles of sound metadata creation and capture; use of open standards for file formats and data encoding; and the promotion of information management literacy are all essential to the longevity of digital resources and the success of curation efforts.1

Some scholars distinguish between "digital curation" and "digital stewardship":

Though the terms curation and stewardship are used interchangeably, there are differences in their meanings. Curator is derived from Middle English and Old French for legal guardian or overseer, and means "to take care of." Steward stems from the Old English and means "keeper" (American Heritage Dictionary, 2000). Stewards are also overseers, however, which suggests that stewardship signals broad cultural responsibility. Kevin Bradley (2007) defines stewardship as addressing the "cultural, public policy, and ethical questions about how and what we remember and forget," and curation as "maintaining and adding value to a trusted body of digital information for current and future use."

We have decided to use stewardship because it encompasses the full range of practices and issues with which curators and other professionals must be concerned.2

Digital preservation is typically regarded as a key subset of either digital curation or digital stewardship. Here's a definition:

Refers to the series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary.3

The Digital Curation Bibliography: Preservation and Stewardship of Scholarly Works covers selected published articles, books, and technical reports. All included works are in English. The bibliography does not cover conference papers, digital media works (such as MP3 files), editorials, e-mail messages, letters to the editor, presentation slides or transcripts, unpublished e-prints, or weblog postings.

Most sources have been published from 2000 through 2011; however, a limited number of key sources published prior to 2000 are also included.

The bibliography includes links to many freely available versions of included works. Such links, even to publisher versions and versions in disciplinary archives and institutional repositories, are subject to change. URLs may alter without warning (and often without automatic forwarding) or they may disappear altogether. Inclusion of links to works on authors' personal websites is highly selective. Note that e-prints and published articles may not be identical.

Digital curation and digital stewardship intersect with a variety of broader topics, such as copyright, digital repositories, digitization, digital libraries, and metadata. See the author's other bibliographies listed in Appendix A. for more general coverage of these topics.

For the reader who is unfamiliar with digital curation and digital stewardship, the following works are recommended:

The following organizations' websites are good starting points for exploring digital curation and digital stewardship topics:

1. Christopher A. Lee and Helen R. Tibbo, "Digital Curation and Trusted Repositories: Steps toward Success," Journal of Digital Information 8, no. 2 (2007),

2. Jeannette A. Bastian, Michele V. Cloonan, and Ross Harvey, "From Teacher to Learner to User: Developing a Digital Stewardship Pedagogy," Library Trends 59, no. 4 (2011): 610.

3. Digital Preservation Coalition, Digital Preservation Handbook (York, UK: 2008),