Born digital - creative writing competition

Article dated: 19 May 2010

The UK Data Archive and the Centre for Creative Writing of the University of Essex are pleased to announce a competition in creative writing on the subject of born digital. Staff and students are invited to write a piece of prose, poetry or drama on the theme.

The choice of theme came about from a conversation between the Director-Designate of the UK Data Archive, Matthew Woollard and Marina Warner, of the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, about the more metaphysical aspects of digital preservation. What is being preserved — the information within a digital object or the object itself?

Archiving is about ensuring the authenticity and reliability of things, and in traditional archiving these things can managed straightforwardly because the physical object and its information content are archived together — the handwritten text in a document can not be separated from the page. In archiving born digital material the digital object is not necessarily what needs to be preserved, rather the information content. Thus, the structure of something born digital is somehow mutable and a 'copy' of a born digital object can be very different from the original but identical in terms of content.

Judging will take place over the Summer, and the winners will be announced at the beginning of the Autumn term.