Digital Information: Discovery to Delivery

The 21st century information professional needs to be equipped to manage digital material in a manner which best supports long-term access and preservation. This module is concerned with both the selection and creation of digital material and the complex issue of maintaining digital continuity. This requires an understanding of the strategic, administrative and technical issues involved.

Digital libraries emerged during the 1990s as a key development area in practice, as well as in research, for information professionals, computer scientists, librarians, archivists as well as those involved in cultural heritage institutions. The advantages of such collections for users are various as they provide access to digital information sources on a 24/7 basis and are important in supporting changing patterns of teaching and learning in educational establishments, for general lifelong learning programmes, for global access to cultural artefacts, government information and so on. In addition they are seen by many as an opportunity to overcome the ‘digital divide’ between countries as information can be made available in a language and format appropriate for users. Students of this module will explore and critically assess ways in which digital information is created, acquired, organised and presented within digital libraries so as to support its discovery and delivery.


Sarah Higgins MA(Hons) DAA, FHEA, PhD — Faculty Deputy Associate Dean & Lecturer Department of Information Studies.

Sarah previously worked for the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) at the University of Edinburgh where she provided advice on the lifecycle management of data, and the standards applicable to this. A qualified archivist she was previously in the University of Edinburgh’s Information Services Group, where she worked in a number of IT implementation teams across both the Library and the Archives. These involved implementing archival cataloguing, managing digitisation and the introduction of digital repositories.  With degrees in Geography and Cartography she was previously Geographic Information Research Officer for the British Antarctic Survey and Secretary to the UK Antarctic Place-names Committee. Before this she worked in cartographic research and digitisation positions for various local authorities and utilities companies. She also spent several years working as a self-employed stage designer.

Sarah is co-editor of Archives and Records, the Journal of the Archives and Records Association (ARA)

Her research is in: Digital Curation, Digital Preservation, Digital Lifecycle Management, Digital Delivery and Discovery, and her publications include:

  • Editorial: estate archives Higgins, S., Evans, S. & Mathias, J., 2019, In: Archives and Records: The Journal of the Archives and Records Association.40, 1, p. 1-44 p.
  • Digital Curation: The development of a discipline within information science Higgins, S., 2018, In: Journal of Documentation.74, 6
  • Time to become our own profession? Higgins, S., 2017.
  • Learning with Lego Higgins, S., 2017.
  • Data modelling for analysis, discovery and retrieval Higgins, S., 2016, Managing Digital Cultural Objects: Analysis, discovery and retrieval. Foster, A. & Rafferty, P. (eds.). London: Facet Publishing, p. 25-60
  • More publications on the Research Portal


An interest in digital information, and its creation, management, and use.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this short course you should be able to:

  • Outline types of digital information sources, their advantages and disadvantages and give examples of relevant national and international initiatives
  • Explain the challenges in managing and evaluating  a collection of digital information sources
  • Describe the stages in a project to digitise a particular collection and explain the importance of knowing about Intellectual Property Rights
  • Give examples of the searching and presentation issues to be considered when providing access to digital information
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of standards in digital information discovery and delivery


To apply please complete the Short Course Application Form

This form should be completed and returned - with your reference - as soon as possible to the Undergraduate Admissions Office: 

For further information, please contact the Department of Information Studies tel: (+/0)1970 622731 / 622189; e-mail: