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Born Digital @ Yale: Born Digital Archives Working Group

Information related to born-digital archival collections at Yale

Members & Advisors


Alice Prael, Beinecke Library, (chair) 2016-2024

Claire Fox, Digital Preservation, (vice-chair) 2022-2024

Eric Sonnenberg, Beinecke Library, 2019-2024

Trip Kirkpatrick, Library IT, 2020-2024

David Cirella, Digital Preservation, 2018-2024

Meg Rinn, Yale Center for British Art, 2023-2025

Alison Clemens, Beinecke Library, 2023-2025

Summer Shetenhelm, Beinecke Library, 2023-2025


Rachel Chatalbash, Deputy Director for Research, Yale Center for British Art

Dale Henrickson, Director of Library Information Technology
Library IT

Christine McCarthy, Director of Preservation, Yale University Library

Chris Weideman, Director, Manuscripts and Archives

Charge and Vision

Committee Charge

Guided by the vision: all Yale University Libraries and Museums (YUL/M) special collections are able to acquire, manage, preserve, and provide access to born digital archival materials, with at least the same level of stewardship and care as is devoted to our physical collections, the Born Digital Archives Working Group (BDAWG) is charged with the following:

  • Research/develop/sponsor software and processes for the acquisition, appraisal, arrangement and description of, and access to, born-digital archives.
  • Identify and recommend a common set of software and hardware to be used for the acquisition, appraisal, arrangement and description, and access of/to born-digital archives.
  • Develop, document, and recommend a flexible set of best practices for working with born-digital archives suitable for, as much as feasible, all special collections units.
  • Provide guidance, education, and information to units acquiring and managing born-digital archives or planning to do so.
  • Advocate for resources, services, and shared practices that facilitate responsible stewardship for born-digital archives.
  • Engage and collaborate at Yale and beyond to meet the above goals.
  • Advise Born Digital Archives Working Group Advisors and the Yale Community on matters related to born-digital archives.

Reports to

Sponsor: Director, Beinecke Library and Advisory group consisting of the following members (or their delegate):

  • Deputy Director for Research, Yale Center for British Art (Rachel Chatalbash);
  • Director of Preservation and Conservation Services, Yale University Library (Christine McCarthy);
  • Director, Manuscripts and Archives (Chris Weideman);
  • Director, Beinecke Library;
  • Chair, Special Collections Steering Committee;
  • Director of Library Information Technology (Dale Hendrickson)

Frequency of meetings

Biweekly. In addition, the group meets with its sponsor(s) twice per year, or as needed.

Term of Service

Group members serve for 2 years, with the possibility of renewal. The secretary position serves for 1 year. Members are expected to commit 10 hours per month, including attending meetings.

Membership Eligibility

Members are people in Yale Libraries and Museums working directly with born-digital archives or those with knowledge or experience in related areas. Working group members will be solicited via the YUL listserv and are appointed by Chair, in consultation with BDAWG. The Chair and Vice-Chair are recommended by the BDAWG and appointed by the sponsor(s); each serves for 1 year. Ideally, members will have served on BDAWG for a minimum of one year prior to becoming Vice-Chair. Both small and large repositories will be represented in BDAWG membership.


  • Advisory group: Members of the advisory group provide administrative and strategic guidance, advocate for born-digital archives at higher administrative levels, and support working group initiatives with funding and other resources. The SCSC Chair serves as a timely conduit for information between the Advisory Group, BDAWG, and SCSC, making sure to take relevant matters back to SCSC for discussion. The Advisory group meets with BDAWG at regular intervals.    
  • Chair: Ensures goals are executed in a timely fashion; leads meetings and sets meeting agenda; coordinates and communicates with advisory group and sponsor; represents group as needed.
  • Vice-Chair: Helps writes reports and maintains group documentation and LibGuide; with Chair, prepares next FY budget for discussion and approval; provides support to Chair as needed. Assumes Chairpersonship in following year.
  • Secretary: Functions as an assistant to the chair by taking meeting notes, maintaining the working group’s Google Drive directory and LibGuide, and assisting with drafting reports as necessary.

Fiscal Year 2022 Goals

New Priorities

  • Computing Environment documentation
  • Malware in born digital archives
  • Vendor Ethics

Continuing Topics:

  • Emulation as a Service (Eaasi)
  • Base Image Machines 
  • Processing Case Studies
  • Implementing Email Archiving Task Force recommendations and workflows using email in archival collections at Yale
  • Shared tools solution
  • Network Transfer Task Force


Annual Reports

See Yale Resources for reports and resources produced by BDAWG on specific topics related to born-digital archives.

Annual Reports