Explore the Digital Stewardship Lifecycle

WebJunction /

WebJunction created the Digital Collections Stewardship course series to help staff at smaller public and tribal libraries, archives and museums understand and navigate the work of creating, sharing and preserving digital collections of unique images, artifacts, documents, and recordings that highlight the history and culture of their communities.

To illustrate the overall range of the work involved, we created a simple Digital Stewardship Lifecycle, which is segmented into five stages: Prepare, Gather, Enhance, Save, and Share. The work of these stages is often non-linear and ongoing, but the lifecycle is laid out in a way to provide a snapshot of all that is involved in taking on this work.

In the interactive graphic below, select each stage to see a short description of the stage, a list of the work involved, and an example of a place where we suggest pausing to make sure that the work you do and choices you make serve your community values and culture, something we call Cultural Checks.

You can also download a PDF for an accessible version of the interactive Digital Stewardship Lifecycle graphic. 

Learn More about the Interactive Digital Stewardship Lifecycle

If you’re interested in learning more, we encourage you to visit the Digital Collections Stewardship course series in our course catalog, and enroll in DCS 1: Introduction to get a more in-depth overview of digital collections, the lifecycle and how to get started with digital collections work at your institution.

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Project partners

OCLC’s WebJunction partnered with Washington State University’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation to create this course series (read more in the OCLC press release).

This project is made possible in part thanks to support from OCLC, Washington State University, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (project number RE-246364-OLS-20).