A brief introduction
The Digital Curation Unit (DCU) was launched at "Athena" Research and Innovation Centre in Information, Communication and Knowledge Technologies in January 2007 with the mission of conducting research, developing technologies and applications, providing services and training, and acting as a national focus point in the field of digital curation. Since June 2009 the DCU is a department of the Institute for the Management of Information Systems of the “Athena” Research centre.
Digital curation encompasses a set of activities aiming at the production of high quality, dependable digital assets; their organisation, archiving and long-term preservation; and the generation of added value from digital assets by means of resource-based knowledge elicitation. To ensure the adequate capture of the context of digital resources and their subsequent creative and effective use, the DCU adopts a multidisciplinary approach which considers the full lifecycle of digital assets, such as records, digital surrogates and scholarly/scientific datasets. This approach favours a multi-faceted analysis of issues and combined use of methods, techniques and tools from the fields of informatics (especially, areas such as knowledge representation and management, knowledge extraction, ontology engineering, multimedia data management, Web technologies, digital libraries, workflow management); management and decision sciences (especially, areas such as workflow analysis, reliability analysis and cost-benefit analysis); library science and archives management; material culture studies, museology and communications; epistemology; and law.
Digital curation services are envisaged as a main mechanism of ensuring the preservation of the evidential function of records as the vocabularies, methods and frames of reference in science and scholarship evolve. Besides digital archiving and preservation, services will also cover developing and supporting standards and methodologies, providing semantically enhanced information and communication services based on curated collections, and mentoring and "incubating" best practice among organizations.
The Digital Curation Unit intends to serve the needs of a wide constituency of organisations and communities, in fields as diverse as e-government, organisational records management, research repositories in the sciences and humanities, and digital heritage. For this purpose, the DCU actively seeks partnerships and collaboration in research, government and private organizations. A "virtual laboratory" mode of operation will involve partners with complementary expertise.