by Kathleen Fitzpatrick — Modern Language Association
January 04, 2013 – 09:31
Born Digital: Guidance for Donors, Dealers, and Archival Repositories offers recommendations to help ensure the physical and intellectual well being of digital media and files during different stages of the acquisition process. Co-authored by a team of ten archivists and curators from the Beinecke, the Bodleian, the British Library, the Harry Ransom Center, Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, and the Rubenstein Library at Duke, the report is the outcome of a series of conversations about how born-digital materials are acquired and transferred to archival repositories.
A draft of Born Digital has been published with MediaCommons Press, an innovative online publisher that allows readers to offer feedback via an easy-to-use commenting interface, and is currently open for comment.
The main body of the report surveys the primary issues and concerns related to born-digital acquisitions and is intended for a broad audience with varying levels of interest and expertise, including donors, dealers, and archival repositories, as well as scholars, students, and researchers. Appendices provide information about how to prepare for the unexpected and possible staffing costs, as well as ready-to-use checklists that incorporate recommendations from throughout the report. These recommendations are not meant to be universal and do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the authors’ institutions. Rather, they offer broad, useful guidance for donors, dealers, and repository staff involved in the acquisition or transfer of born-digital materials.
The report’s authors encourage archivists, curators, manuscript dealers, writers, scholars, students, and other custodians of archival materials to read the report, offer feedback, and take part in a discussion with the larger community of people concerned about the acquisition and preservation of born-digital materials. Your comments and suggestions will provide an important level of peer review as the report’s authors continue revising and preparing Born Digital for final publication.