Born Digital: The 21st Century Archive in Practice and Theory

panel / roundtable
  1. 1. Gabriela Redwine

    Harry Ransom Center - University of Texas, Austin

  2. 2. Matthew Kirschenbaum

    University of Maryland, College Park

  3. 3. Michael Olson

    Academic Information Resources - Stanford University, Libraries - Stanford University

  4. 4. Erika Farr

    Robert W. Woodruff Library - Emory University

Work text
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As more people rely on computer technologies
to conduct their personal and professional lives,
born-digital materials such as emails, Word
manuscripts with tracked changes, blog entries,
text messages, and tweets will constitute the
archives of the future. Archival repositories
at places like Stanford University, Emory
University, and The University of Texas
at Austin have been receiving born-digital
materials for over 20 years but have only
recently begun working actively to preserve
these items in their original digital formats.
As part of this work, archivists have begun
to look to other fields, such as computer
forensics and law enforcement, for equipment
and methodologies to use in the acquisition
and preservation of born-digital materials. The
application of forensics technology to born-
digital content in archives and the development
of tools to facilitate access to these materials
hold great promise for humanities scholarship
and teaching.
This session brings together digital archivists,
librarians, and curators to discuss some of
the forensic techniques and equipment being
used to preserve born-digital archival materials
at the Stanford University Libraries, the
researcher interfaces Emory University has
developed to provide access to Salman Rushdie’s
computers, and the broader implications of
these developments for the concept of “archives”
in a variety of disciplines, including information
science, literary studies, history, and cultural
Michael Olson, Digital Collections Project
Manager for Stanford University Libraries,
will begin the session with a discussion
of the applicability of forensics software
to the acquisition and description of born-
digital archival materials at Stanford. Erika
Farr, Director of Born-Digital Initiatives at
Emory’s Woodruff Library, will discuss the
researcher interfaces developed for use with
Salman Rushdie’s computers and the results
of user studies currently underway to explore
the potential effects of analog-digital hybrid
materials on research methodologies and
scholarly communication. Gabriela Redwine,
Archivist and Electronic Records/Metadata
Specialist at the Harry Ransom Center, will
consider the computer as an archival object that
challenges both archival and scholarly notions
of what an archives is and can be, as well as the
functions it may serve.
The panel will be chaired by Gabriela Redwine,
of the Harry Ransom Center, The University
of Texas at Austin. Matthew Kirschenbaum,
Associate Director of the Maryland Institute
for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), will
serve as respondent.
Computer Forensics in the
Archive: An Analysis of
Software Tools for Born
Digital Collections
Michael Olson
Stanford University Libraries / Academic
Information Resources Stanford University
Stanford University Libraries hold an increasing
amount of digital archival material. This
principally comprises magnetic and optical
disks and tapes containing digital files produced

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2010
"Cultural expression, old and new"

Hosted at King's College London

London, England, United Kingdom

July 7, 2010 - July 10, 2010

142 works by 295 authors indexed

XML available from (still needs to be added)

Conference website:

Series: ADHO (5)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None