Born Digital for Those Born Analog

The first outcome of an ongoing OCLC Research activity, Demystifying Born Digital, is a report, You’ve Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content Received on Physical Media.

Jackie Dooley and I submitted a draft of this document to some of the smartest people we know (see the list here) and what ensued was one of the liveliest professional discussions I have ever been part of. We wanted to end up with a very simple list of actions for getting a born digital backlog under control. The assumed reader was a person without expertise and in an archives where there was no policy in place and little IT support.

Many of our advisors instinctively pulled toward best practices. Others acknowledged that even with their expertise and tech support at relatively well-funded institutions, they were not able to do even what we had been calling minimal steps. Some of the steps became optional; others got a bit of elaboration — even the order of the steps was the subject of much deliberation, but we ended up with a simple, direct document to help those who were afraid to take the first steps.