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Overview of the Digital Content Life Cycle

The New Zealand Digital Content Life Cycle has seven stages:

  1. Selecting: for analogue or new content, selecting what should be made digital
  2. Creating: putting content in a form to make it usable
  3. Describing: describing content so it can be organised
  4. Managing: managing content to keep it usable and available
  5. Discovering: organising content to make it findable
  6. Using & Reusing: ensuring content can be used and re-purposed
  7. Preserving: managing content to keep it usable and available long-term.



The University of Central Florida Research Lifecycle details 4 main, organic cycles:

  1. Planning Cycle
  2. Project Cycle
  3. Publication Cycle
  4. Digital Scholarship Cycle



Digital Project Workflow for the IU Libraries and How it Maps to the NZ Digital Project Lifecycle / UCF Research Lifecycle

NZDigitalUCF Research LifecycleIU Libraries Workflow
SelectionPlanning Cycle

Needs Assessment: Understand preliminary needs of user community

Selecting a Collection for Digitization: Establish guidelines for selection across various groups: subject specialists, preservation experts, users, IT, etc.

  • Copyright status
  • Open Access
  • Significance of collection (actively used, required by scholars, rare/unique, etc.)
  • Impact on users (existing and potential users)
  • Metadata status
  • Relationship to existing collections
  • Format of materials; handling considerations

Gather and review materials: Collections that originate from a library, archives, etc. are likely already in order

  • Physical status of materials (brittle, rare, replaced by online version ...)
  • Evaluate content with respect to user-goals (if text, good OCR candidate? color/grayscale scanning v. bitonal; if map, zoomable images?)

Budget: In most cases budgets are only created as part of a grant application or super special project

CreatingProject Cycle

Establish guidelines for digitization, markup/encoding, metadata and filenaming

  • Document analysis, content modeling (metadata and markup/encoding)
  • Determine cataloging standards according to content and goals as expressed in the guidelines
  • Determine digitization standards according to content and goals as expressed in the guidelines
  • Plan for Quality Control
  • Consider share ability (re-purpose, re-use) of metadata and digital surrogates


  • Follow digitization best practices and standards based on content format (images, text, etc.) and type (prints v. slides, manuscripts v. printed texts)
  • Reference guidelines published by the ALA and FADGI.
DescribingProject Cycle

Data-centric approaches (creating a descriptive "record")

  • Cataloging images, objects, texts (bibliographic description),

Document-centric approaches

  • Marking up entire texts, from record to full text, for semantics and structure
    • TEI, EAD

Consult content standards (e.g., DACS, RDA) and (appropriate) controlled vocabularies (e.g., TGN, TGM, etc.)

ManagingDigital Scholarship Cycle

Services (Image Collections Online, Archives Online, etc.)

  • Digitization workflows for processing multimedia objects
  • Cataloging and text encoding workflows for managing the "description" layer
  • Storing digital objects, metadata + content, in our digital object repository for access & preservation
  • Storing digital objects in Scholarly Data Archive managed by UITS or in dark repositories managed by external partners like AP Trust
DiscoveringDigital Scholarship Cycle

Usability: iterative and should happen at various stages in the workflow

Functionality: determine specifications for access and delivery

Implementation: iterative and can happen at various stages in the workflow

  • Determine correct publishing platform (could be multiple platforms)
Using & ReusingDigital Scholarship Cycle

Copyright and Terms of Use: Creative Commons Attribution

Metadata Sharing:

  • Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) => DPLA

Versioning and Sharing

  • GitHub, repository for open-source, open-access projects
  • Institutional repositories
  • Discipline-specific repositories
PreservingDigital Scholarship Cycle

Develop digital preservation policies; aim for "Trusted Repository"

  • Determine retention policies:  forever?
  • Keep multiple copies of objects
  • Check for file integrity
 Publication Cycle


  • Conferences, publications, social media: track impact (altmetrics)


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