Planning an event on "Cataloguing Born Digital Material"

Jenny Bunn Friday, 11 July 2014 09:38

We are currently in the early stages of planning an event for the autumn (probably November, although the date is not yet fixed) and would like to invite your thoughts, comments and participation early on so that it has a better chance of being a true community effort.

The theme we are interested in exploring is ‘Cataloguing Born Digital Material’. This choice is driven, to some extent by our ongoing work with the Descriptive Standards Roundtable, but mainly by the fact that we sense this is an issue many of us are facing and struggling with at the moment.

Whilst not suggesting that the question of how to get born digital material into our archives (using write blockers and digital forensics techniques etc.) is completely sorted, it does seem to be more sorted than the questions of;

  • How we utilise and integrate the born digital metadata that often accompanies born digital material into our existing catalogues and finding aids?

  • What we need to do with regards to the arrangement or ‘rearrangement’ of born digital archives and how objects such as websites and email mailboxes map onto our current ideas about levels of description?

  • How we provide users with access to born digital material, either online or in the searchroom?

As a Committee, we have often spoken about whether there are different ways of doing things to ensure that all our members feel involved and so, as an experiment we will be undertaking the planning of this event as openly as possible. We will be trying to use this (semi)-open (to ARA members) forum for all discussion about the event wherever possible, but if there are suggestions, comment or offers to get involved that you would like to make privately (at least in the initial stages), please email

In particular we would like to hear from you if you are trying to tackle the issue of Cataloguing Born Digital Material, or if you have experiences or solutions you would be willing to share, or if you want to make any suggestions at all.

Please get involved so that we can work together to work out what to do about ‘Cataloguing Born Digital Material’.