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Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature Review
  5. Research Questions
  6. Proposed Methodology
  7. References

According to the Digccurr Project Matrix of Digital Curation Knowledge and Competencies, future digital curators will need sufficient technical skills to address the challenges presented by digital curation (Lee et al. 2007). In addition, interviews with Digccurr advisory board members identify a specific need to recruit individuals with technical backgrounds. Students pursing majors in computer science (CS) and computer engineering (CE) possess sufficient technical skills included in the Digccurr matrix. In this study, a group of CS students and CE students will be interviewed about their current career plans and reactions to three digital curation job postings. Data will provide information that can inform recruitment of individuals that possess the skills needed to conduct digital curation work.


Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature Review
  5. Research Questions
  6. Proposed Methodology
  7. References

Digital curation presents new challenges within the information science field, educators have only recently begun to define the competencies digital curation work requires, in order develop informed digital curation education programs. The Digccurr project matrix of digital curation knowledge and competencies is one such effort. Based on a review of existing literature and interviews with the Digccurr advisory board, the Digccurr project team developed a six dimensional matrix. Many items in the first level functions and skills section of the matrix such as ‘data management,’ ‘identifying, locating and harvesting,’ ‘ingest,’ ‘systems engineering and development’ and ‘transfer’ require a background in technology and the ‘characteristics of technology’ dimension of the matrix requires a knowledge of markup languages, programming, databases, networks, file systems and encryption require a certain level of knowledge. Furthermore, interviews with Digccurr advisory board members reveal an urgency to recruit individuals with technical backgrounds to address the technical nature of digital curation problems. Many of the matrix knowledge and competencies are included in classes one might encounter in an undergraduate computer science (CS) and/or computer engineering (CE) curriculum. Current research about the career orientations of CS and CE students provides some insight into the topics that most interest this group when they visualize and/ or plan their careers, but studies do not include information about specific professions. Interviewing CS and CE students about their current career plans and gathering information about their reaction to digital curation job postings will provide data about the characteristics of digital curation that interest CS and CE students.

Literature Review

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature Review
  5. Research Questions
  6. Proposed Methodology
  7. References

While the CS and CE fields do not suffer from a lack of introspection, the published studies do not focus on these graduates' interest in a specific career, such as digital curation. Most studies discuss the homogeneity of the information technology careers and focus on attracting more women and minorities to the field (Johnson et al. 2008). McInerney et al. (2006) interviewed undergraduate information science technology majors (defined as computer science, computer engineering or information technology) about their reasons for entering the field and found that an interest in computers, usually discovered through courses in high school was the most stated reason for majoring in the field. McInerney et al. (2006) also found that all major groups expressed concern about the job market, especially information technology majors, who specifically mentioned outsourcing as a problem. Investigating the prototypical career paths of IT Professionals, Joseph et al (2008) found that although the notion of a dual career track of technical and managerial positions, a protean track exists, causing him to remark that the “the IT profession has low barriers for entry and exist.” This may be good news for the field of digital curation: if barriers are low, IT professionals may be more willing to step outside the traditional IT career titles and try something like digital curation. In addition, a study by Sumner and Yager (2004) found that variety was highly valued among Information Technology professionals: digital curation may provide such variety.

Research Questions

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature Review
  5. Research Questions
  6. Proposed Methodology
  7. References

According to the Digccurr matrix, digital curation work requires a variety of skills, many of which are based in technology. Individuals with sufficient technical skills need to be recruited to digital curation to address these unique challenges. This study aims to answer:

What characteristics of digital curation work interest computer science and computer engineering students?

Understanding the characteristics of digital curation that most interest a population of individuals with the needed technical skills with provide data to inform recruitment of qualified individuals to the digital curation field.

Proposed Methodology

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature Review
  5. Research Questions
  6. Proposed Methodology
  7. References

A population of students pursing majors in CS and CE will be recruited to participate in a focus group through a message sent to faculty members in the computer science and computer engineering departments which requests distribution among student majors. In addition fliers will be posted in the computer science and computer engineering buildings and vicinity. Focus group participants will be asked to respond to three digital curation job postings. At the conclusion of the focus group session, subjects will be asked to answer a short paper-based survey consisting of demographical questions and open-ended and close-ended questions about career exploration and career plans. Data analysis will identify the Digccurr matrix knowledge, skills and competencies present in each job posting. In addition, analysis will identify common themes in participants' reactions to the characteristics present in each job posting. These cited characteristics will then be mapped back to the Digccurr matrix.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature Review
  5. Research Questions
  6. Proposed Methodology
  7. References
  • Joseph, D., Ang, S. & Slaughter, S. (2008). “Identifying the prototypical career paths of IT professionals: A sequence and cluster analysis,” Proceedings of the ACM SIGMIS CPR Conference on Computer Personnel Research, 9496.
  • Lee C., Tibbo, H. & Schaefer, J. (2007). “Defining what digital curators do and what they need to know: The digccurr project.” Proceedings of the 7th ACM/IEEE Joint Conference Libraries, 4950.
  • McInerney, C., DiDonato, N., Giagncova, R., & O'Donnell, A. (2006). “Students' choice of information technology majors and careers: A qualitative study.” Information Technology, Learning and Performance Journal 24(2), 3553.
  • Sumner, M. & Yager, S. (2004). Career Orientation of IT Personnel. Proceedings of the 2004 SIGMIS conference on computer personnel research: Careers, culture, and ethics in a networked environment, 92-96.