The phrase “born digital” is just as vexed as “digital libraries.” Taken all together, the “born digital” universe is all encompassing, and too much for any one professional or institution to tackle. No wonder librarians and archivists throw up their hands in frustration! It’s just too much.
Fortunately, my colleague Ricky Erway has written an essay, Defining Born Digital [pdf], that seeks to define the discrete components of the born digital landscape, which are:
- Digital photographs
- Harvested web content
- Digital manuscripts
- Electronic records
- Static data sets
- Dynamic data
- Digital art
- Digital media publications
If reading a four-page document is too daunting, you might also enjoy this rather humorous treatment of the subject, featured on our new YouTube channel.
I think that by better defining which corner of this vast universe we are working on (or seeking to understand), we will feel less overwhelmed and are more likely to make progress.
I’m interested in your reactions. How did we do? Did we miss anything? Does this help you?
Merrilee Proffitt is Senior Manager. She provides community development skills and expert support to institutions within the OCLC Research Library Partnership.