BEAM works with born-digital material from a range of archival collections held in the Bodleian Library's Department of Special Collections.
Below is a taster of some of the collections we will be working with in the near future. The born-digital elements in these archives will be brought into a digital curation environment, where they can be preserved for the long-term. Some material will be made available for research, while other material will be preserved to ensure it is accessible when catalogued and released for research at a future date.
The Conservative Party archive first arrived at the Bodleian Library in 1978. This substantial archive continues to grow thanks to regular additions from Conservative Campaign Headquarters. In recent years, the digital component of the archive has increased dramatically; this includes: files from the Conservative Research Department, press releases and speech transcripts, posters and leaflets, policy discussion brief mailings to Party members, videos of party political broadcasts and conferences, and images, c. 1990-2012.
The Clutag Press was established in 2000 by Andrew McNeillie. It has since issued numerous Poetry Broadsheets and more substantial finely produced pamphlets by major literary figures, including Seamus Heaney, Tom Paulin and Geoffrey Hill. The Bodleian is acquiring the papers in regular (roughly annual) tranches, working closely with McNeillie. Through this form of close working between creator and curator, the archive allows the Bodleian to capture an important record of contemporary literary culture which owing to its 'ground up' hybridity would otherwise be at risk of loss. The archive of the press has been in digital and paper formats from its inception and is therefore an excellent example of the complexities and richness of hybrid collections.
Emma Nicholson is a member of the House of Lords and an MEP for South East England. The Bodleian holds her extensive archive, which includes born-digital material. Further digital files may follow as part of ongoing deposits.
The archive of Sir Isaiah Berlin (1909-97), one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated intellectuals, was given to the Bodleian in 1999. There is a comprehensive catalogue of the core archive; however, further accessions relating to Berlin have been made since including interviews by his biographer, Michael Ignatieff, with Berlin and those who knew him. This comprises 67 CDs of audio files.
Baroness Castle of Blackburn (1910-2002) has been described as one of the most important Labour Party politicians of the twentieth century. The Bodleian holds her archive, the majority being in paper format. An accession of 2006 comprised a significant quantity of digital material, including correspondence, draft chapters of memoirs and miscellaneous files, c. 1980s-1990s. The catalogue for the archive is largely complete.
Edmund Dell (1921-99) served in both the Wilson and Callaghan governments. He was the founder Chairman of Channel 4 television from 1980-7, and the author of a well-received 1996 study of British Chancellors of the Exchequer.
His papers came to the Bodleian in two tranches: the first tranche, catalogued and accessible, includes a number of important audio cassettes containing his diaries; the second, more recent and substantial, tranche contains a quantity of digital material.