Libraries across Australia and New Zealand launch Born Digital 2016 this week (8-12 August), the inaugural digital preservation week – raising awareness of the importance of preserving digital content for the public good and as a record of 21st century history – 25 years to the week since the first public website went live. 

Beginning Monday 8 August, the National and State Libraries of Australasia will roll out events and online activities that explore questions about collecting and preserving digital content and examine the technical, social and philosophical questions of our digital lives.

Throughout the week each library will publish the Born Digital series of online interviews with experts in a range of disciplines from astronomy to journalism, as they discuss the profound importance of digital preservation to their work. 

Sarah Slade from State Library Victoria is coordinating the week: “Since the Internet went public 25 years ago the volume of digitally created material has expanded exponentially and replaced a huge number and variety of physical records. Consider the number of letters that were once sent that are now emails or photographic prints that are now digital photos that have no physical copy. 

“We have more information today than at any other point in history but is more fragile than we imagine. There are 1000-year-old books that can still be easily read but how many of your 25-year-old floppy discs can you still use?

 “Libraries take this very seriously and are working hard to ensure this information doesn’t disappear, but it is much as social issue as an institutional one – everyone must think about their information and what they are doing to make sure it isn’t lost.” 

Currently NSLA libraries house 5 petabytes of digital information which, if stored on 3.5” floppy discs commonly used 25 years ago, would stretch around the Earth 8.3 times.

“This amount of data is vast but it is nothing compared to what will exist in 5 or 10 years from now. Being diligent about our digital information now means we won’t have an information crisis in 10, 50 or 100 years from now.” 

 One Born Digital interview video will be released each day over Digital Preservation Week.

Monday 8 August: Science and space with Dr Alan Duffy
Dr Alan Duffy is an astronomer and science expert at the Centre for Astrophysics and Computing at Swinburne University, Melbourne.

Tuesday 9 August: Indigenous voices with Dr Rachael Ka’ai-Mahuta
Dr Rachael Ka’ai-Mahuta is Senior Lecturer, Associate Director: Te Whare o Rongomaurikura – The International Centre for Language Revitalisation at the Auckland University of Technology.

Wednesday 10 August: Truth and history with John Birmingham
Author and journalist John Birmingham’s books include ‘He Died with a Falafel in His Hand’ and ‘Leviathan: an unauthorised biography of Sydney’.

Thursday 11 August: Digital lifestyles with Dr Rebecca Huntley
Dr Rebecca Huntley is a social researcher and writer with degrees in law and film studies and a PhD in Gender Studies. She is currently Senior Editor & Director of Insights & Research at Mama Mia Women’s Network.

Friday 12 August: Play with Bajo and Hex
Bajo (Steven O’Donnell) and Hex (Stephanie Bendixsen) are Australia’s best known video game critics, writing and presenting ABC TV’s Good Game and its companion shows, Good Game Spawn Point and Good Game: Pocket Edition.

Visit each individual National, State and Territory library to discover what Born Digital activities they have planned:

National Library of Australia: nla.gov.au

National Library of New Zealand: natlib.govt.nz

ACT: library.act.gov.au

NSW: sl.nsw.gov.au

QLD: slq.qld.gov.au

SA:  slsa.sa.gov.au

TAS: linc.tas.gov.au

VIC: slv.vic.gov.au

WA: slwa.wa.gov.au

Or visit: nsla.org.au/born-digital-2016

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