The Born-Digital Deluge: Documenting Twenty-First Century Events

Rachel Howard, University of Louisville
Heather Fox, University of Louisville
Caroline Daniels, University of Louisville


With digital recording devices readily available to most people, events are documented and shared on-line in real time by the “person on the street.” The ease of creation and dissemination belies what archivists know will be the long-term challenges of organizing and preserving collections of born-digital information. While other processes require little modification, the inherent fragility of digital content and the ease of depositing files call for a substantial modification of established procedures. In this article, three University of Louisville archivists discuss their approach to the acquisition, copyright transfer, file naming, selection, description, and preservation of born-digital content donated by the local community to document Louisville’s August 2009 flood.