University of Illinois

Specialization in Data Curation


program overview (PDF, 585 KB)

Data curation is the active and ongoing management of data through its lifecycle of interest and usefulness to scholarship, science, and education. Data curation enables data discovery and retrieval, maintains data quality, adds value, and provides for re-use over time through activities including authentication, archiving, management, preservation, and representation. The Specialization in Data Curation offers a focus on data collection, representation, and management, digital preservation and archiving, data standards, and policy. Our program provides a strong focus on the theory and skills necessary to work directly with academic, governmental, public, industrial, research center, etc. data to develop expertise in the curation of research data.
The Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois is the top ranked LIS school in the nation, situated within a world-class public research university with one of the world’s largest library collections. Library and Information Science (LIS) as a discipline emphasizes the use of information technology to support new approaches to the organization of and access to information. As such, GSLIS is well suited to provide a specialization that prepares students to plan and manage data curation systems, create and maintain data collections, and to evaluate and apply data and metadata standards for varied uses across the sciences, humanities, and social sciences.
The Data Curation Specialization may be earned either as part of an ALA-accredited Master of Science (MS) degree or, for students who have already completed their master’s degree, as part of a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) degree. The MS degree requires a total of 40 credit hours of course work that includes required core courses outlined below. Those in the specialization must complete two courses required of all MS students as well as three courses required for the specialization. Students in the data curation specialization work with their faculty advisors to select electives for a more individualized program that will prepare them for either a general or specialized career path. At least two courses from the recommended data curation list are required for the specialization. We anticipate that our graduates will be employed across a range of institutions, including museums, data centers, libraries and institutional repositories, archives, and throughout private industry. In fact, organizations of all kinds increasingly need professionals to manage and utilize large bodies of data.

Declaration Form

Currently enrolled GSLIS students wishing to complete the specialization must submit an online declaration form. Upon successful completion of the required courses, a letter of acknowledgment will be mailed to you.

Course List

Required Courses

Required of All Master's Students

LIS501 Information Organization and Access
LIS502 (2 hours only) Libraries, Information and Society

Required for the Specialization

LIS562 Metadata in Theory and Practice
LIS586 Digital Preservation
LIS590DC Foundations of Data Curation

Recommended Electives

Students must take two (2) courses from this list; taking four (4) is advised.

LIS452 Foundations of Information Processing in LIS
LIS453 Systems Analysis and Management
LIS490DB Introduction to Databases
LIS560 Digital Libraries
LIS561 Information Modeling
LIS590OD Ontology Development
LIS590RO Representing and Organizing Information Resources

Additional Relevant Electives

LIS456 Information Storage and Retrieval
LIS490MU Museum Informatics
LIS503 Use and Users of Information
LIS522 Information Sources and Services in the Sciences
LIS530B Health Sciences Information Services and Resources
LIS530I Bio Informatics Problems and Resources
LIS581 Administration and Use of Archival Materials
LIS582 Preserving Information Resources
LIS590BDI Biodiversity Informatics
LIS590DE Design of Digitally Mediated Information Services
LIS590DH Digital Humanities
LIS590DP Document Processing
LIS590EP Electronic Publishing
LIS590II Interfaces to Information Systems
LIS590OH Ontologies in Humanities OR LIS590ON Ontologies in the Natural Sciences
LIS590SD Digital Social Sciences
LIS590TR Information Transfer and Collaboration in Science

*Students admitted prior to Summer 2013 may still complete LIS453 as a required course. Students admitted on or after Fall 2013 must complete the listed required courses.

For students who are not able to relocate to campus, we offer the courses required for the Specialization in Data Curation through our LEEP online learning option, which allows our students to complete the MS degree with this specialization in data curation.

Admissions Information

For general admissions information, contact the GSLIS Admissions Office at (800) 982-0914 or (217) 333-7197, or send e-mail to -lis-apply, at For more specific information about the Specialization in Data Curation, please contact "Megan Senseney"-mfsense2, at

Program Alumni

We are always interested in learning more about your careers and accomplishments. If you have completed the specialization, please take a moment to fill out the Alumni Update Form.

The development of the GSLIS Specialization in Data Curation has been supported by grants from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

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