Building a Community of Curatorial Practice at Penn State: A Case Study

Patricia Hswe, Michael J. Giarlo, Michelle Belden, Kevin Clair, Daniel Coughlin, Linda Klimczyk


The Penn State University Libraries and Information Technology Services (ITS) collaborated on the development of Curation Architecture Prototype Services (CAPS), a web application for ingest and management of digital objects. CAPS is built atop a prototype service platform providing atomistic curation functions in order to address the current and emerging requirements in the Libraries and ITS for digital curation, defined as “... maintaining and adding value to a trusted body of digital information for future and current use; specifically, the active management and appraisal of data over the entire life cycle” (Pennock, 2006)[7]. Additional key goals for CAPS were application of an agile-style methodology to the development process and an assessment of the resulting tool and stakeholders’ experience in the project. This article focuses in particular on the community-building aspects of CAPS, which emerged from a combination of agile-style approaches and our commitment to engage stakeholders actively throughout the process, from the construction of use cases, to decisions on metadata standards, to ingest and management functionalities of the tool. The ensuing community of curatorial practice effectively set the stage for the next iteration of CAPS, which will be devoted to planning and executing the development of a production-ready, enterprise-quality infrastructure to support publishing and curation services at Penn State.


curation, microservices, agile, infrastructure, stakeholders,

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