Information Access Seminar

CANCELED: Archiving the Non-Organizational Born-Digital: The Challenges Posed by Material from Individuals, Communities, Social Movements, and Events

Friday, October 11, 2019
3:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Howard Besser


This seminar has been canceled due to the campus power shut-down. It will be rescheduled for a later date.


The transition from analog to digital creation and communication has forced archives and special collections to handle the vastly larger corpus of born-digital records that have already begun to enter our archives. The ubiquity of devices for recording and sending has not only increased the number of items that any individual creates, but has led to the creation of vast numbers of media types (digital videos and photographs, emails, tweets, social media postings, etc.) We need to find smart ways to handle this digital deluge, particularly ways to streamline the processes of selection/appraisal, ingest, and description.

In this presentation, Howard Besser will discuss his work with archivists, individuals, and community groups in addressing some of the challenges of this digital deluge. He will particularly look at the problems posed by personal, community, and event-based born-digital material — the type of material that documents the lives of ordinary people and the social and community organizations that they form. The presentation will illustrate some interesting activities that have come from the personal digital archiving community, as well as the work of activist archivists in documenting the Occupy Wall Street movement.

This week’s seminar will begin with a brief student progress report.

Howard Besser is founding director of New York University’s Moving Image Archiving & Preservation MA Program, professor of cinema studies, and senior scientist for digital initiatives for NYU’s library. His work over the past 35 years has emphasized policy issues (copyright, privacy), technology issues (image and multimedia databases), metadata (Dublin Core, METS, PREMIS), media archiving and preservation (personal digital archiving, museum time-based media conservation), and teaching with technology (distance learning). He has both a Ph.D. and MLIS from South Hall.

Last updated:

October 11, 2019