What does “born digital” mean?

If something is born-digital, rest assured: we’re not talking about robots who will take over the world.

A born-digital object is an item that originates in the digital world: the photo you take with your digital camera; an MP3 song or podcast downloaded from the web; or a document you create in a word processing program. All of these things are born in the digital realm and they do not become a physical object until someone creates a copy that exists in the real world. A printed photograph suitable for framing or sticking on the fridge. Emails or contracts printed on paper.

picture of book Born Digital

Diane Cordell via Flickr

Once a born digital item exists in the real world, we can use it in different ways. For example, we can create a book of photographs or a book publishers send to libraries for their shelves.

We can also preserve objects for future use. Unfortunate things happen to objects in the real world, such as misplacing them, losing them in a fire, or objects being stolen.

That’s why it’s important to have the same standards of care for born-digital or real world objects.

Call or email me for a free 30 minute assessment to discuss your personal archiving needs. Don’t lose your born-digital memories!

Read more about born-digital objects here [PDF].