Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Preserving Born-Digital Archives

Portal to the Past (credit)
Last month I was very fortunate to be able to participate–if only over the phone–in a meeting of committee of the Historical Society for the District of Columbia Circuit met with three staff at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress to discuss how best to encourage judges to preserve and transfer their digital records.  Janice Ruth, Assistant Chief of the Manuscript Division, presided; Kathleen O'Neill and Margaret McAleer, Senior Archives Specialists, presented “Donors and Their Digital Legacy,” which summarized what they had learned about curating born-digital materials.  These first came into the Division incidentally in the mid-1990s.  Their numbers gradually increased after 2000.  Since 2011, the Division has actively solicited them.

The discussion was too far ranging to summarize here, but I am grateful the presenters’ permission to provide links to their suggested readings: AIMS Born-Digital Collections: An Inter-Institutional Model for Stewardship (2012); Born Digital: Guidance for Donors, Dealers, and Archival Repositories (2013) ; and the Paradigm Project's Workbook on Digital Private Papers (2008)  ("Paradigm" stands for "Personal Archives Accessible in Digital Media.")   For advice to donors on the care of their digital files, consult the Library of Congress’s Personal Archiving website and the Beinecke Library’s Authors’ Guidelines for Digital Preservation.