Born Digital Archiving eXchange Report Back

This week I had the opportunity to attend the Born Digital Archiving eXchange hosted by Stanford University.  It was a really great unconference that brought together digital archivists, curators, and others working to preserve and provide access to born-digital archives.

The discussion topics covered the lifecycle of digital archives: acquisition and appraisal, description, access, and advocacy and outreach. Extensive notes were taken during each discussion and can be found here. There were also several demos, including ePADD, GameCIP, BitCurator Access, UC Irvine’s Virtual Reading Room, and BwFLA.

The discussions and demos all touched upon topics we’re grappling with at the RAC as we acquire, process, preserve, and provide access to the electronic records created by our donor organizations. In particular, the discussion on description touched on a lot of things I’ve been thinking about while working on the digital processing project. This included what technical metadata to utilize in archival description, how to represent the extent of born digital materials, and the importance of applying archival principles regardless of format.

It wasn’t all talking, though: at the end of BDAX we came up with a list of action items to continue the work that we started. They can all be found here, but the action items most relevant to our current work at the RAC included mapping Best Guess Guidelines for Cataloguing Born Digital Material from ISAD(G) to DACS, determining levels of processing, and documenting processing metrics. I’m excited to bring these new ideas to the east coast and see this work continue.

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