Identifying Topical Coverages of Curricula using Topic Modeling and Visualization Techniques: A Case of Digital and Data Curation
Digital/data curation curricula have been around for a couple of decades. Currently, several ALA-accredited LIS programs offer digital/data curation courses and certificate programs to address the high demand for professionals with the knowledge and skills to handle digital content and research data in an ever-changing information environment. In this study, we aimed to examine the topical scopes of digital/data curation curricula in the context of the LIS field. We collected 16 syllabi from the digital/data curation courses, as well as textual descriptions of the 11 programs and their core courses offered in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. The collected data were analyzed using a probabilistic topic modeling technique, Latent Dirichlet Allocation, to identify both common and unique topics. The results are the identification of 20 topics both at the program- and course-levels. Comparison between the program- and course-level topics uncovered a set of unique topics, and a number of common topics. Furthermore, we provide interactive visualizations for digital/data curation programs and courses for further analysis of topical distributions. We believe that our combined approach of a topic modeling and visualizations may provide insight for identifying emerging trends and co-occurrences of topics among digital/data curation curricula in the LIS field.
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