Because good research needs good data

DCC Curation Lifecycle Model

The DCC Curation Lifecycle Model provides a graphical, high level overview of the stages required for successful curation and preservation of data from initial conceptualisation through the iterative curation cycle. The model can be used to plan activities within a specific research project, organisation, or consortium to ensure all necessary stages are undertaken, each in the correct sequence. It is important to note that the description, preservation planning, community watch, and curate and preserve elements of the model should be considered at all stages of activity.

I create data — why is the model relevant to me?
It is a common misconception that data is created or captured and then passed on to someone else to curate. In fact, much of the most crucial information required for effective long-term curation and reuse must be captured at the conceptualisation and collection stages.
I'm a data archivist — why is the model relevant to me?
The DCC Curation Lifecycle Model supports activities undertaken by data archivists and preservation experts, and was designed in consultation with practitioners and experts at all stages of the curation cycle.
I want to re-use other people's data — why is the model relevant to me?
It is in the interest of data users to be able to access high-quality data which can be proven to be authentic and have integrity. The ways in which data can be accessed is dependent on good practice in curation — for example, retrieval and querying of data is affected by the how they have been described in the creation and preservation stages of the cycle. Furthermore data use can produce new results, which themselves need to be curated, so data users become data creators and feed their research back into the cycle.
What is the difference between the types of action?
Full lifecycle actions are shown in concentric rings around the data objects at the centre of the model. These are activities which take place at any time during the digital curation lifecycle and are relevant to many different sequential actions. For example, preservation planning should be taken into account as the data is conceptualised, when it is being preserved, and when it is used and re-used.
What is representation information?
Representation information is any information required to understand and render both the digital material and the associated metadata. Digital objects are stored as bitstreams, which are not understandable to a human being without further data to interpret them. Representation information is the extra structural or semantic information which converts raw data into something more meaningful.
How can I use the model in practice?
Identify the ongoing, sequential, or occasional activities you are currently undertaking. Examine how these stages interact with other stages and stakeholders. Which other steps are you engaged with indirectly (for example, perhaps you use data provided by a digital repository)?
What are the benefits of this model?
The Lifecycle model enables the mapping of granular functionality onto a series of practical activities, which allows creators, curators and re-users of data to identify where they themselves fit into the bigger picture. By applying the lifecycle model to your own working practices, you will be able to identify whether additional steps are required, if there are 'missing links' in your data curation processes, whether some steps can be eliminated for your particular working practices, and to define specific roles and responsibilities within your project/institution across the different stages.
Where can I learn more about the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model?
The Data Curation Lifecycle model is further detailed in the original 2008 article by Sarah Higgins and colleagues, available here. Since then the International Journal of Digital Curation has published various articles that adapt or reuse the model. A list of those is available here.
Can I suggest additions/changes to the model?
The model has been developed through internal and public consultation with experts and practitioners in all stages of digital curation. However, we realise that the model will evolve over time to reflect actual working practices and we value your contributions and suggestions for improvements. If you have any suggestions for improvements then let us know by writing to