Using phenomenography to inform curriculum development in the areas of Digital Curation and Digital Sustainability

Tony Reeves


A British university is proposing to introduce two new postgraduate certificate qualifications in Digital Curation and Digital Sustainability. The proposed courses are intended to formalise this knowledge into a curriculum that enables professional practitioners working in related areas to develop their knowledge of how to manage digital assets in a sustainable manner. This case study sought to investigate the knowledge and skills required by digital professionals working in the areas of Digital Curation and Digital Sustainability at the university. The roles and responsibilities of these professionals were diverse, and the sample included specialists in the areas of digitisation and preservation of archive film and photography, copyright for digital assets, database and web development, bid writing, and managing digitisation projects. A phenomenographic methodology was used to identify the variations in how these professionals understood their work, and the categories of description emerging from the study identified them as researchers, specialist advisors, technical specialists, service providers, and perpetual students. The data analysis and resulting outcome space suggested that a problem-based learning curriculum would provide an effective way of preparing students to succeed as professionals in the areas of Digital Curation and Digital Sustainability.


phenomenography, professional practice, curriculum development, digital curation, digital sustainability

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ISSN: 1759-667X