E-mails, bookmarks, blog entries and digital photos are just a few examples of personal digital collections, the sum total of an individual’s born-digital materials that they create and then decide to keep. Since our collections of digital materials are becoming ever more various and complex, how should they be archived effectively?
This is the basic question that 10 scholars address in I, Digital: Personal Collections in the Digital Era, the new book edited by Dr. Christopher (Cal) Lee, associate professor and co-convener of the Archives and Records Management (ARM) concentration at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The first collection of essays designed to guide archivists’ thinking about personal digital materials, this book focuses on how cultural institutions might best grapple with new digital forms of archival material, and on how individuals can best manage the digital materials that are a part of their daily lives.
I, Digital made its debut at the Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) in late August, where Dr. Lee signed copies of the book.
"Digital information is a fact of life these days," said SAA Executive Director Nancy Beaumont. "I, Digital effectively blends practical and conceptual issues and provides an interesting mix of disciplinary perspectives."
SILS is strongly represented in I, Digital. Dr. Lee not only edited the volume, but wrote the introduction and a chapter on the appraisal of materials in the social Web. He also co-authored another chapter that explores the connections between two disciplines – archives and records management and personal information management – with Dr. Robert Capra, who joined the SILS faculty as assistant professor this fall.
Kristina Spurgin, a student at SILS, wrote a chapter that examines personal collections related to leisure activities by analyzing the information organization practices of serious amateur photographers, advice in popular literature addressing the keeping and organizing of photos, and archival literature on digital image collections.
"I, Digital has provided an exciting opportunity to bring together several of my major research interests that are rarely discussed together in the professional literature: personal archives, electronic records and personal information management," said Lee. "It's been terrific to work on this book project with so many of my valued colleagues from a diversity of backgrounds, institutional settings and parts of the world."
I, Digital is published by the Society of American Archivists.