Donor Conversations Regarding Hybrid Collections

On August 24, 2011, in Research, by Chris Prom

One of the most neglected aspects of work regarding electronic records and born-digital materials is the appraisal process and specifically the acquisition of material from private parties.  Several projects at high profile institutions are examining or have examined issues related to personal digital archives: most prominently the British Library’s ongoing Digital Lives Project, Stanford’s SALT toolkit, Oxford’s Future Arch project, and the AIMS Project.  In addition, we should all check out the work by Cathy Marshall and Jeff Ubios, who are working outside the archival community.

As interesting and valuable as this research is, let’s face facts: many donors are reluctant to turn digital stuff over to an archives.

That’s why I am so interested to hear what Susanne Belovari will have to say on Friday at the SAA Session I am chairing: Practical Approaches to Electronic Records: What Works Now.  Susanne’s talk will focus on work she has done with donors, using a simple document both to guide donor interviews and to help people prepare their materials for deposit.  One of the best aspects of the approach she is following is that it can really help put people at ease, and help them feel very comfortable both with the archivist and the institution’s ability to care for the records.  Building that trust is essential in any archival work, but even more so with electronic records—and Susanne is ideally placed to address this issue, given her past experience and interests.

A copy of the form, which Susanne graciously supplied, can be found here:

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