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 — Lecturer in 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:

  • Higgins, S., Hilton, C. & Dafis, L.L., 2014. Archives context and discovery: rethinking arrangement and description for the digital age. In 2nd annual conference of the International Council on Archives, 11-15 October 2014, Girona, Spain. Girona. Available at:
  • Bunn, J., & Higgins, S. (2013). Mainstreaming Digital Curation: An overview of activity in the UK archives and records management profession. In C. Cirinna, K. Fernie, & M. Lunghi (Eds.), Proceedings of the Framing the Digital Curation Curriculum Conference, Florence, Italy, 6-7 May, 2013. DigCurV Project. Retrieved from
  • Higgins, S. (2013). Digital curation: The challenge driving convergence across memory institutions. In L. Duranti & E. Shaffer (Eds.), The Memory of the World in the Digital age: Digitization and Preservation: An international conference on permanent access to digital documentary heritage, Vancouver, Canada, 26-28 September 2012 (pp. 607–623). Vancouver, Canada: UNESCO. Retrieved from
  • Gresham, E., & Higgins, S. (2012). Improving browsability of archive catalogues using Web 2.0. Library Review, 61(5), 309–326. doi:10.1108/00242531211280450
  • Higgins, S. (2012). The lifecycle of data management. In G. Pryor (Ed.), Managing research data. Facet Publishing.
  • Higgins, S. (2011). Digital curation: the emergence of a new discipline. The International Journal of Digital Curation, 6(2), 78-88.
  • Higgins, S. (2009). DCC DIFFUSE Standards Frameworks: A standards path through the Curation Lifecycle. The International Journal of Digital Curation, 4(2), 60-67.
  • Higgins, S., 2008. The DCC curation lifecycle model. The International Journal of Digital Curation, 3(1), pp.134–140. Available at:


Students taking this short course should have a keen 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 informationDemonstrate an understanding of the importance of standards in digital information discovery and delivery
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of standards in digital information discovery and delivery


To apply please complete the Short Course Application Form. Return it - with your reference - to Aberystwyth Postgraduate Admissions Office on, before the application deadline date.

For further information, please contact the please contact Information Studies tel: (+/0)1970 622188; e-mail: