Challenges to Born-Digital Institutional Archiving: The Case of a New York Art Museum

jazI have written a new article that highlights the challenges to born-digital institutional archiving, using a New York art museum as a case.  It is appearing soon in Records Management Journal, but you can download a preprint here.

ABSTRACT

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight the challenges to born-digital institutional archiving, using a New York Archive Museum (NYAM) as a case.

Design/methodology/approach – The digital record keeping practices at NYAM were studied using three data sources: a) focus groups with staff, totaling 81 individuals, or approximately one-third of all staff, b) analysis of network file storage, and c) analysis of digital records in archival storage, or specifically removable media in acid-free archive boxes.

Findings – This case study indicates that the greatest challenges to born-digital institutional archiving are not necessarily technological but rather social and cultural.  Or rather, the challenge is getting individuals to transfer material to a digital archive so that it can undergo the technological transformations needed to ensure its long-term availability.  However, transfer is impeded by a variety of factors which can be addressed through education, infrastructure development and proactive appraisal for permanent retention.

Practical implications – This paper highlights the challenges to born-digital institutional archiving, yet notes that these challenges can be overcome by following a multi-pronged approach.

Original value – This paper outlines the challenges to born-digital institutional archiving, which is not often discussed in the literature outside of the context of higher education.