Digital Archiving Resources

Defining "born digital": an essay

Title

Defining "born digital": an essay

Subject

Archives

Description

Erway provides a succinctly defined list of fundamental tasks and issues to consider when creating and preserving digital collections. Born-digital resources are simply “items created and managed in digital form.” Erway begins his essay by describing nine basic types of born-digital items including documents, images, data sets and digital media. He accompanies each description with recommended methods for preservation, noting that some types, such as documents, may require emulating the original software that created the document. Many factors affect born-digital preservation, such as whether or not the document was created with proprietary software, the hardware and operating system are obsolescent, or how the document might be used in the future.

Erway discusses key issues affecting the preservation of born-digital items by assessing the inherent risks and detailing seven fundamental archival challenges. A key issue, such as “bit rot” adds to the complexity of adapting archival standards to digital collections. Standard archival principles, including provenance, are jeopardized by loss or corruption of digital data or by the proprietary nature of some software. Documents protected by such software may not be able to provide contextual information that might be useful for establishing the document’s origins and relationships to other items in the collection. Erway also illuminates a fundamental archival challenge in balancing the creator’s right to privacy against the public right to access.

In summary, Erway offers three steps for beginning a digital archive: establish basic policies for each type of born-digital item; inventory the digital collection and determine what formats and media storage ensure long-term sustainability; and seek other people and institutions developing similar digital collections.

Creator

Erway, Ricky

Publisher

OCLC Research

Date

2010

Contributor

Polk, Victoria

Rights

OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.

Type

Ebook

Identifier

http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/research/activities/hiddencollections/borndigital.pdf?urlm=168879

Bibliographic Citation

Erway, Ricky. Defining "Born Digital": An Essay. Dublin, OH:OCLC Research, 2010. PDF e-book.

Files

oclc.jpg

Collection

Citation

Erway, Ricky , “Defining "born digital": an essay,” Digital Archiving Resources, accessed November 18, 2017, http://dar.cah.ucf.edu/items/show/68.