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Born-Digital Archives: A Practical Introduction

  • The British Library 96 Euston Road London, NW1 2DB (map)
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A bespoke research workshop and networking event in partnership with the British Library.

The ‘papers’ of writers, artists, activists and public figures are today most likely to be produced in digital form on desktop computers, laptops, phones, tablets and other handheld devices. This ‘born-digital’ content might include draft works, notes, emails and other correspondence, databases, spreadsheets, presentations, photos, film and social media.

As a result, the contemporary collections of libraries and archives are increasingly acquired in digital format – whether as discrete files or as complete operating systems and hard drives. Archivists and librarians face questions about how to preserve, organise and enable access to this material, stimulating innovations in archival practice. This is changing not just the ways in which researchers are able practically to access contemporary archival collections but also the questions they are able to ask of the material and to the research methodologies that can be employed.

This workshop offers a chance to explore some of the implications of born-digital archives with academics, staff from the British Library, and fellow AHRC PhD researchers from the CHASE, South West & Wales, and WRoCAH Doctoral Training Partnerships. You will gain valuable insights into work-in-progress at the British Library to enhance access to its born-digital literary collections. You will also have the chance to feed into wider discussion around how libraries and archives should aim to collect, curate, preserve and develop born-digital material and data of all kinds. This is also a great opportunity to meet and network with British Library curators, established academics and other PhD researchers and who are already working with born-digital collections or are planning to do so in future.

This event will be of interest to anyone who is interested in contemporary archives and digital humanities, whose research draws on digital resources (or is likely to in future) or who is interested in pursuing a future career in the archives and libraries sector.