Born Digital

Information exchange the world over increasingly occurs in digital format. Where once libraries and archives dealt with physical books, newspapers and manuscripts, we now operate in an environment that is increasingly digital. E-books and e-newspapers now exist alongside physical books and newspapers, and libraries and archives have to find a way to collect, preserve and provide access to this new digital heritage material.

As with any emerging format, in a Library or Archives context there can sometimes be differing interpretations as to what exactly constitutes Born Digital material, but broadly speaking Born Digital material is material that has its origins (is born) in digital format only.

This type of material can include but is not limited to websites, e-mails, photographs, e-publications, film, and databases.

The National Library of Ireland recognises the intrinsic cultural value of born digital materials, and the importance of preserving this material for current and future generations. We also recognise this opportunity of working with Born digital collections as a way to enable users to work with the NLI and NLI collections, in new and innovative ways. The library began web archiving in 2011. The first project was the 2011 General Election followed by the 2011 Presidential Election. The NLI is continuing with selective and thematic web archiving with the aim of creating a web archive containing websites of cultural and historical importance covering a broad range of topics of Irish interest.