Born Digital: An Archival Approach

Constellation E: Monday, October 31, 4:15 – 5:00PM

“’Taking our Pulse’ [Dooley and Luce, 2010] summarized a 2009 survey of archives and special collections and found that born-digital materials are under-collected, under-counted, under-managed, unpreserved, and inaccessible. By the DLF fall forum, OCLC Research will have made significant progress on an activity to look at management of born-digital materials from an archivist’s perspective. One objective of this work is to help situate the role of special collections librarians and archivists within the spectrum of collaborators in the born-digital realm. What skills and experiences can archivists bring to bear that will help those in research libraries who are entrusted to manage born-digital materials? We’ve already completed an essay offering a definition of born digital and enumerating the widely divergent types of materials that are considered born digital. Another piece that has been competed is a proposed approach to getting digital content off of the various kinds of physical media, including both obsolete media and present day media. Among the next components will be a piece on the archival approach to born digital, beginning with assessment and continuing through to description, preservation, and access. An additional component of the work will be a piece that pulls together the best advice for responsible approaches to getting born-digital materials under basic, initial control – and presents it in a clear set of steps to help curators of born-digital materials act confidently. The timing of the DLF forum comes at a perfect point for us to get feedback on what’s been completed and get input on what else would be a useful contribution to the community.

Session Resources

Session Leaders

Jackie Dooley (OCLC)

Ricky Erway, non-presenting contributor (OCLC Research)

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