Digital research in the arts and humanities has traditionally focused on digitised objects and archives. However, born-digital cultural materials that originate and circulate across a range of formats and platforms are rapidly expanding and raising new opportunities and challenges for research, archiving and collecting communities. Collecting, accessing and sharing born-digital objects and data presents a range of complex technical, legal and ethical challenges that, if unaddressed, threaten the archival and research futures of these vital cultural materials and records of the 21st century. Moreover, the environments, contexts and formats through which born-digital records are mediated necessitate reconceptualising the materials and practices we associate with cultural heritage and memory.

Research and practitioner communities working with born-digital materials are growing and their interests are varied, from digital cultures and intangible cultural heritage to web archives, electronic literatures and social media. This international conference seeks to further an interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral discussion on how the born-digital transforms what and how we research in the humanities.

We invite contributions from researchers and practitioners involved in any way in accessing or developing born-digital collections and archives, and interested in exploring the novel and transformative effects of born-digital cultural heritage. Areas of particular (but not exclusive) interest include:

  1. A broad range of born-digital objects and formats:
    • Web-based and networked heritage, including but not limited to websites, emails, social media platforms/content and other forms of personal communication
    • Software-based heritage, such as video games, mobile applications, computer-based artworks and installations, including approaches to archiving, preserving and understanding their source code
    • Born-digital narrative and artistic forms, such as electronic literature and born-digital art collections
    • Emerging formats and multimodal born-digital cultural heritage
    • Community-led and personal born-digital archives 
    • Physical, intangible and digitised cultural heritage that has been remediated in a transformative way in born-digital formats and platforms
  2. Theoretical, methodological and creative approaches to engaging with born-digital collections and archives:
    • Approaches to researching the born-digital mediation of cultural memory
    • Histories and historiographies of born-digital technologies
    • Creative research uses and creative technologist approaches to born-digital materials
    • Experimental research approaches to engaging with born-digital objects, data and collections
    • Methodological reflections on using digital, quantitative and/or qualitative methods with born-digital objects, data and collections
    • Novel approaches to conceptualising born-digital and/or hybrid cultural heritage and archives
  3. Critical approaches to born-digital archiving, curation and preservation:
    • Critical archival studies and librarianship approaches to born-digital collections
    • Preserving and understanding obsolete media formats, including but not limited to CD-ROMs, floppy disks and other forms of optical and magnetic media
    • Preservation challenges associated with the platformisation of digital cultural production
    • Semantic technology, ontologies, metadata standards, markup languages and born-digital curation
    • Ethical approaches to collecting and accessing ‘difficult’ born-digital heritage, such as traumatic or offensive online materials
    • Risks and opportunities of generative AI in the context of born-digital archiving
  4. Access, training and frameworks for born-digital archiving and collecting:
    • Institutional, national and transnational approaches to born-digital archiving and collecting
    • Legal, trustworthy, ethical and environmentally sustainable frameworks for born-digital archiving and collecting, including attention to cybersecurity and safety concerns
    • Access, skills and training for born-digital research and archives
    • Inequalities of access to born-digital collecting and archiving infrastructures, including linguistic, geographic, economic, legal, cultural, technological and institutional barriers
Call for Proposals. Blue text on grey background.

Submit a Proposal

View the full Call for Proposals (CFP) and submit a proposal. The deadline for submissions is 7 June 2024

Virtual Participation, Languages and Accessibility

The conference will primarily be an in-person event. However, we recognise the importance of remote participation to support inclusive access. We therefore plan to livestream portions of the programme for attendees to view online, and which will also be made available to view after conference. We will do our best to ensure that both in-person and virtual participants will have an enriching and enjoyable experience.

There will be the option for some presentations to be made online. Please indicate on your submission whether you intend to present in-person or online, and please note we have a more limited capacity for online presenters.

The working language of the conference will be English but within our capacity we would like to ensure the inclusion of those who would prefer to present in other languages. To support cross-language engagement, those who would like to present in another language will be asked to pre-record their presentations in the language of their choice and the organising committee will coordinate and cover the costs of translation into English prior to the event. In order to facilitate the peer review process, we would however ask that submissions be made in English or in one of the languages familiar to the organising committee, which are French, Spanish and Italian.

If you have any questions or additional accessibility recommendations or requirements, please contact the Organising Committee at borndigital@sas.ac.uk.

Organising Committee

  • Gabriel Bodard (School of Advanced Study)
  • Beatrice Cannelli (School of Advanced Study)
  • Michael Donnay (School of Advanced Study)
  • Paula Granados Garcia (Endangered Material Knowledge Programme)
  • Helle Strandgaard Jensen (Aarhus University)
  • Anna-Maria Sichani (School of Advanced Study)
  • Naomi Wells (School of Advanced Study)
  • Stella Wisdom (British Library)

Programme Committee

  • Abi L Glen - Our Heritage, Our Stories (OHOS)
  • Alice Bell - Sheffield Hallam University
  • Amy Spencer - Bath Spa University
  • Anat Ben-David - Open University of Israel
  • Andy Corrigan - Cambridge Digital Humanities
  • Anisa Hawes - Programming Historian
  • Anna Mladentseva - UCL/V&A
  • Arran J Rees - University of Leeds
  • Bethany Johnstone - UCL
  • Caio Mello - School of Advanced Study
  • Callum McKean - British Library
  • Chijioke Okorie - University of Pretoria
  • CJ Chen - Nanjing University
  • Claire Taylor - University of Liverpool
  • Clare George - Senate House Library
  • Edward King - University of Bristol
  • Emily Maemura - University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign
  • Gábor Palkó - Eötvös Loránd University
  • Gustavo Gomez-Mejia - Université de Tours, Prim
  • Hannah Smyth - UCL
  • Helena Byrne - British Library
  • İdil Galip - University of Amsterdam
  • Isabelle Gribomont - Université catholique de Louvain/Royal Library of Belgium (KBR)
  • Jane Winters - School of Advanced Study
  • Jenny Bunn - The National Archives
  • Jenny Cearns - UCL
  • Jessica Ogden - University of Bristol
  • Jo Baines - UCL Special Collections
  • Jody Butterworth - British Library
  • Joseph Ford - School of Advanced Study
  • Juan-José Boté-Vericad - Universitat de Barcelona
  • JuEunhae Knox - University of Sheffield
  • Katie Mackinnon - University of Toronto
  • Kelly Foster - Whose Knowledge?
  • Kyounghwa Yonnie Kim - Kanda University of International Studies
  • Lisa Griffith - Digital Repository of Ireland
  • Lucy Evans - Senate House Library
  • Lyle Skains - Bournemouth University
  • Max Odsbjerg Pedersen - Royal Danish Library
  • Michael Popham - Digital Preservation Coalition
  • Nanna Bonde Thylstrup - University of Copenhagen
  • Natalie Kane - V&A
  • Neil Stewart - School of Advanced Study
  • Nick Webber - Birmingham City University
  • Niels Brügger - Aarhus University
  • Paul Gooding - University of Glasgow
  • Peter Webster - University of Southampton
  • Pip Willcox - Lambeth Palace Library
  • Pragya Dhital - School of Advanced Study
  • Reham Hosny - University of Cambridge/Minia University
  • Rhiannon Lewis - School of Advanced Study/University of Glasgow
  • Richard Nevell - Wikimedia UK
  • Rosario Rogel-Salazar - Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México
  • Samya Brata Roy - IIT Jodhpur/School of Advanced Study
  • Sara Namusoga-Kaale - Makerere University
  • Sara Thomas - Wikimedia UK
  • Saskia Huc-Hepher - University of Westminster
  • Shani Evenstein Sigalov - School of Advanced Study/Tel Aviv University
  • Susan Aasman - University of Gronigen
  • Thea Pitman - University of Leeds
  • Thorsten Ries - The University of Texas, Austin
  • Valérie Schafer - University of Luxembourg
  • Vicky Garnett - DARIAH-EU/Trinity College Dublin
  • Yannis Tzitzikas - University of Crete