Digital Collections: Born-Digital

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This content is excerpted from Preventive Conservation: Collection Storage (2019), Elkin and Norris, eds.

Chapter 36: Care of Born-Digital Collections

Riccardo Ferrante, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, DC

The need to preserve born digital objects in cultural heritage collections is urgent. Popular discussions refer to an impending digital dark age, suggesting that a lack of attention to this issue has already caused a gap in the historical record that is very likely to widen unless the necessary resources and research are brought to bear. This chapter focuses on the concepts and workflows that undergird effective risk assessments, preservation planning and preservation strategy selection. However, significant strides in born digital preservation can be made by institutions of all sizes and available resources when an incremental approach is taken in addressing the needs of these collections.


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