Project deliverable Open Access

D3.1 Report on survey of sector training needs

Engelhardt, Claudia; Strathmann, Stefan; McCadden, Katie

Fernie, Kate; Usher, Carol

This deliverable describes the conception and execution of the survey on training needs in digital preservation and curation carried out in the context of the DigCurV project. It summarises the main findings of the survey together with those from a series of focus group meetings held in the partner countries and also an analysis of job advertisements which have appeared since January 2011 when the project began. The detailed analysis of the survey results is available as an appendix to this deliverable.

Section 2 gives an overview of the three components of the research carried out.

Section 3, after an introduction, presents the results of the survey on training needs that was carried out in July and August 2011. The survey aimed at identifying the skills and competences needed for digital preservation and curation as well as the needs for vocational education and training in this field. It was structured into four parts that concentrated on basic information about the respondent’s organisation, training plans and preferences, the skills and competences required and the training needs. The survey received 454 valid responses from 44 countries, with the majority of them coming from Europe. The participants represent a broad spectrum of organisations from the cultural heritage as well as the scientific and education sectors and are engaged in a variety of activities with regard to digital preservation and curation.

The data collected shows that the overwhelming majority of organisations face the challenge of digital preservation and curation. About three quarters of the institutions in our survey already store digital materials for long-term preservation and almost a fifth are planning to do so in the future. Despite this fact, more than half of the organisations do not intend to hire new staff for digital preservation activities. In many cases it seems likely that the tasks associated with the long-term storage of digital assets will be assigned to existing staff who will need to acquire the necessary skills and competences if they do not have these already. Thus the survey results suggest there is likely to be a substantial need for appropriate training amongst these organisations.

Section 4 gives a summary of the analysis of the focus groups that were conducted to gather additional information from stakeholders. The findings support the results of the survey analysis. The participants reported a severe lack of professionals with the appropriate skills for digital preservation and curation both among existing staff of their institutions and potential staff on the labour market. They expressed an urgent need for training, particularly with regard to IT skills and technical digital preservation skills. Generic skills, management skills and the ability to train others have also been indicated as areas with a considerable training need.

Section 5 presents the analysis of 48 job advertisements for positions in the field of digital preservation and curation. The information obtained with regard to the tasks, skills and competences relevant in the field of digital preservation and curation underpins the findings of the survey and the focus groups. The task responsibilities and the corresponding skills, competences and knowledge are wide-ranging and cover many digital preservation-specific and technical as well as general areas.

Section 6 synthesises the findings and draws conclusions. The results of the research suggest a great demand for training in digital preservation and curation that arises from a serious lack of qualified staff in the field. The findings revealed a broad spectrum of skills and competences relevant for staff involved in digital preservation. When designing training, this diversity as well as the integration of practical application and the suitability of the format for working staff should be taken into account.

This report together with the report on the baseline survey on training opportunities and the evaluation framework will be used as a background for developing a curriculum framework for vocational education and training in the field.

The DigCurV project was funded by the European Commission's Leonardo da Vinci programme.
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