Data curation is the active management of digital files through their lifecycle to enable discovery and provide for reuse over time. It comprises several processes, including digitisation (conversion of physical media formats into digital files), preservation (ensuring that the files are going to work for a long time), and showcasing (publishing of items for access). Data curation also includes the process of file selection and how to best describe them to ensure that they can be found and re-used. 

UCT’s Digital Library Services offer a curation service for digitisation projects undertaken by UCT Libraries to ensure that digital collections are created, organised, documented, showcased, preserved and made accessible in perpetuity by applying best practices for managing the lifecycle of digital objects.

If you have a lot of data and are working towards ensuring that it can be re-used then you are welcome to contact us to set up a meeting so that we can help you with a Data Curation Profile. All projects involving curation will have to discuss a Project Memorandum of Understanding (sample)  with DLS.

Data Curation Profile

DLS provides a curation interview process that can assist you with determining the data needs for various stages of your research project. Book a session with us to get started.

Digital Preservation

Digital preservation ensures that information and data records of continuing value are safe from media failures and obsolescence and will be accessible for posterity. There are a number of strategies for digital preservation including migration, technology preservation, encapsulation, emulation, and digitisation. 

The basic steps in digital preservation include:

  • creation of representative information of the data to ensure discoverability (metadata),
  • transformation of file formats to standards that ensure long-term access (normalisation),
  • auditing of data to ensure integrity (file fixity).

Digital Library Services runs the institutional preservation system - Izolo.


For an emphasis on presentation of collections with lots of media and interrelated content, the Ibali online showcase platform (combination of Omeka S  and IIIF ) would be the most suitable place. This platform allows an element of user experience customization as it allows the building of sites and pages to lift and highlight content, enabling narrative experiences with digital objects. DLS provides guidance and training for the use of the system, together with assistance in data curation.