Title: Prerequisite Knowledge (Dimension 5 of Matrix of Digital Curation Knowledge and Competencies)
Author: Christopher (Cal) Lee, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Draft: June 17, 2009 (Version 18)
Project: DigCCurr (IMLS Grant # RE-05-06-0044)

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 3.0 License

The table below summarizes elements of knowledge that are instrumental to understanding and applying other aspects of the curriculum, including specialized terminology and characteristics of technologies. This is the fifth dimension of the DigCCurr Matrix dimensions.

Prerequisite Knowledge Categories and Elements Explanation or Elaboration
Terminology All areas of the curriculum will introduce new terminology to students. This item in the table of topics is intended to call out fundamental terminology that might not be addressed elsewhere. See e.g. glossaries of the professional associations such as SAA.
Characteristics of Technologies  
Definitions of Technology Exposure to various definitions of technology. Recognition that technology is much more than the latest computer gadgets (includes simple artifacts such as paper, as well as social processes and expectations).
History and evolution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)  
General Patterns and Lessons Main lessons from studies of technology (e.g. unexpected consequences, importance of social context, limitations of technological determinism, values/norms and processes being embedded in technology)
Specific Developments and Generations of Technology Basic understanding of the evolution of ICTs, such as:
  • From purpose-built computers to mainframes, time sharing, minicomputers, personal computers, client-server, mobile devices
  • Dominant storage technologies from given eras
  • History of the Internet
Essential Characteristics and Elements of Current and Emerging ICT Landscape
    Abstraction and virtualization (e.g. emulation, virtual machines, virtual name spaces)
  • Compression
  • Data structures and data types
  • Databases
  • Encryption
  • File formats
  • File Systems
  • Identifiers for digital objects
    • Commonly used identifiers (e.g. file names, URLs)
    • Promising approaches for persistent identifiers
    • Differences between local and global identifiers
  • Images (vector, raster)
  • Markup languages (including XML)
  • Models and modeling
    • Entity-relationship and object-oriented approaches
    • Types of models (e.g. functional, data flow)
  • Networks
  • Operating Systems
  • Programming
  • Roles and differences between source code, compilers, interpreters, machine instructions
  • Role and relationships of main hardware components
  • Security
  • Storage media and systems - operation and characteristics (magnetic and optical)
  • Standards
    • Roles of standards – both within the computer industry and for digital curation
    • Types of standards
    • Standards development process