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Digital curation: the development of a discipline within information science

Sarah Higgins (Department of Information Management, Libraries and Archives, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, UK)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 13 August 2018

Issue publication date: 24 August 2018




Digital curation addresses the technical, administrative and financial ecology required to ensure that digital information remains accessible and usable over the long term. The purpose of this paper is to trace digital curation’s disciplinary emergence and examine its position within the information sciences domain in terms of theoretical principles, using a case study of developments in the UK and the USA.


Theoretical principles regarding disciplinary development and the identity of information science as a discipline are applied to a case study of the development of digital curation in the UK and the USA to identify the maturity of digital curation and its position in the information science gamut.


Digital curation is identified as a mature discipline which is a sub-meta-discipline of information science. As such digital curation has reach across all disciplines and sub-disciplines of information science and has the potential to become the overarching paradigm.

Practical implications

These findings could influence digital curation’s development from applied discipline to profession within both its educational and professional domains.


The disciplinary development of digital curation within dominant theoretical models has not hitherto been articulated.



Higgins, S. (2018), "Digital curation: the development of a discipline within information science", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 74 No. 6, pp. 1318-1338.



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Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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