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Graduate Student Deborah Garwood Researches Intersection of Digital Curation and Archives in LIS Literature

Deborah Garwood

May 4, 2016

A paper by graduate library and information science student Deborah A. Garwood was recently accepted to ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2016: The Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivist and the Society of American Archivists (Atlanta, GA from July 31-Aug. 6). Garwood will speak about her research during the conference’s graduate student paper presentations session on Aug. 4 at 11 a.m.

In her paper titled “Digital Curation and Archives: An Annotated Bibliography,” Garwood addresses the intersection of digital curation and archives in the literature of library and information science. Seventeen scholarly articles, published between 2006 and 2014, were involved in her study.

“Digital curation is influencing knowledge domains and facilitating interdisciplinary research in the information environment,” Garwood said. “I found that articles with a theoretical orientation analyzed how the term developed, often in relation to specific projects. Articles that emphasized digital curation practices at academic libraries addressed the need for education. Three studies provided contrast to the general direction of the literature. Recent articles assessed digital curation from a contemporary perspective, and suggested future directions for research and education.”

Garwood’s research suggested that digital curation was a term that is widely used with different meanings. “Over time, the development of metadata that helps domains interface should also streamline domain-specific metadata, so that access to quality information across as well as within domains may become increasingly available to users. The convergence of information disciplines calls for flexibility and cooperation, always with users in mind — as many have said,” she said.

Throughout her education and career, Garwood has exhibited a strong passion for interdisciplinary aspects of the arts and writing. Prior to Drexel, Garwood studied studio art at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Canada as part of her liberal arts degree at Oberlin College. She also earned a master of fine arts in sculpture at Hunter College, CUNY.

In recent years, she has exhibited photographs of abandoned historic landscapes internationally. She has reviewed art exhibitions, performances and books from an artistic perspective, and she has been a contributing editor to two publications. Garwood’s independent scholarship looks into the history of science and literature, science as cultural expression, as well as historic landscapes.

Despite the comprehensive experience in her career path, Garwood decided to go back to school to pursue a Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) degree at Drexel in Sept. 2014.

“I’m a life-long learner, and research for my art and writing projects has taken me to international destinations. Libraries, archives, observatories and museums are inspiring places. My appreciation for reference librarians took on a professional dimension while working beside them at a major library and museum in New York City, and I thought — why not pursue this myself?” Garwood said.

She continued, “The MSLIS degree joins me with other professionals who believe that ensuring the long-term integrity of cultural works and historic documents is a vital service to humanity, one that goes hand in hand with making the resources more widely available. Greater public and professional access to reservoirs of knowledge can enhance democracy in America, and may also promote worldwide peace in the 21st century.”

Garwood’s areas of interest include the growing connections between archives, information science and library science today. According to her, the information environment is expanding. Therefore, the role of archivists and librarians is to bring their sense-making skills to help people navigate the information. Topics in Drexel’s MSLIS curriculum that intrigued her ranged from archives, metadata and digital preservation to cataloging, content representation, database searching and collection management.

Garwood, a New York City resident, intends to relocate in Camden, NJ before or after graduation this year. Her goals are to work in settings that advance research, promote information literacy and support or initiate cultural projects for the benefits of communities. She also hopes to use her skills and experience as an information professional and an artist and writer to help preserve historic natural environments in southern NJ.