May 19, 2022

New SPEC Kit From ARL: Managing Born-Digital Special Collections and Archival Materials

SPEC Kit #329 is now available.

From the ARL Web Site:

This SPEC Kit explores the tools, workflow, and policies special collections and archives staff use to process, manage, and provide access to born-digital materials they collect. It also looks at which staff process and manage born-digital materials and how they acquire the skills they need for these activities, and how libraries have responded to the challenges that managing born-digital materials present.

The management of born-digital materials is still relatively new for ARL libraries, and the survey results show that good practices and workflows are still evolving. New tools are emerging rapidly, and the once solid line between digitized content and born-digital content is beginning to blur. Survey responses indicated that the library and archives profession lacks a common definition of what born-digital content is and a common understanding of who within the organization should manage this content.

This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents that describe digital specialists’ job responsibilities, collection policies, gift/purchase agreements, format policies, and workflows.

Table of Contents and Executive Summary are available for free.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.