How can we improve the
preservation and access to born-digital records in literary and publishers’
archives? “there lie in his
hoards many records that few now can read, even of the lore-masters, for their
scripts and tongues have become dark to later men.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring While we still have letters, manuscripts and
other physical documents from the past centuries, we are in danger of losing
digital documents created in the last decade. Literary scholars rely on the
traces left by writers – from correspondence to drafts – which now take the
form of born-digital records. Publishing historians also need access to the
records left by publishing companies. Emails and other digital forms of
communication have largely replaced letters and memos, and yet, safeguarding
digital archives remains an enduring challenge for archivists. Electronic
records risk becoming unreadable due to rapidly changing formats and technologies.
Even when digital archives are actively pres…
How can we improve the findability of born-digital records in literary and publishers’ archives? How can we use these collections to produce new knowledge?
This workshop in London (25-26 January 2018) is the second of two “After the Digital Revolution” events funded by a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award awarded to Dr Lise Jaillant. It will bring together 30 participants, including 15 early-career participants to discuss and improve the findability and usability of born-digital archives.
The first workshop in Manchester focused mainly on the issue of the preservation of born-digital collections (including the recovery of emails). But preservation is not enough: an archive needs to be findable and usable. For example, the Ian McEwan collection at the Harry Ransom Center (Austin, Texas) contains eighty thousand messages going back to 1997. But few scholars know about these emails, and access is complicated due to technical issues and privacy concerns.
How can we make born-dig…