The quantity of 'born-digital' material in the archive and manuscript collections held by the Bodleian Library is increasing. Digital material comes to us in a variety of forms, including whole computers, computer disks and other types of external media. The files stored on these devices are encoded in a range of contemporary and older file formats. The types of material we typically expect to find include: audio, documents, email, images, presentations, spreadsheets and many more. Much of this material has no equivalent in paper form and must be preserved and accessed digitally.
Bodleian Electronic Archives and Manuscripts (BEAM) is being created to provide for the management of born-digital archives and manuscripts acquired by the Library. BEAM will provide the means to gather, describe, manage and preserve the digital components in archive and manuscript collections while maintaining their relationship with more traditional components of the same collection.
The first phase of development will be undertaken through the futureArch project. Those interested in the curation of electronic archives and manuscripts may wish to visit the futureArch blog.