May 22, 2022

New From OCLC Research: “Swatting the Long Tail of Digital Media: A Call for Collaboration”

The following is the second report in the Demystifying Born Digital series.

From OCLC Research:

…Swatting the Long Tail of Digital Media: A Call for Collaboration [by Ricky Erway], urges a collaborative approach for conversion of content on various types of digital media. As with First Steps, the document refers only to born-digital material on physical media. This essay is intended for managers who are making decisions on where to invest their born-digital time and money. It should help them understand that any expectations that local staff will be able to handle everything are probably impractical. We hope it’ll also help archivists (and others) in the trenches breathe a sigh of relief to think that perhaps they won’t have to deal with an array of obsolete media all on their own.

Several other reports will follow in the coming months.

We called upon an informal group of experts for feedback on our ideas and drafts, and they responded with detailed insights and remarkable energy. While not all details in the reports represent consensus, their spirited debates and valued advice improved them greatly.

Nancy Enneking
Head of Institutional Records and Archives,
Getty Research Institute
Riccardo Ferrante
Director, Digital Services,
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Ben Goldman
Digital Records Archivist,
Pennsylvania State University
Gretchen Gueguen
Digital Archivist,
Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library,
University of Virginia
Matthew Kirschenbaum
Associate Professor of English and Associate Director,
Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH),
University of Maryland
Christopher (Cal) Lee
Associate Professor, School of Information and Library Science,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Michelle Light
Head of Special Collections, Archives, and Digital Scholarship,
University of California, Irvine
Veronica Martzahl
Records Archivist, Digital Collections and Archives,
Tufts University
Matthew McKinley
Digital Project Specialist,
University of California, Irvine
Naomi L. Nelson
Director, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library,
Duke University
Erin O’Meara
Gates Archive
Chris Prom
Assistant University Archivist,
University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign
Gabriela Redwine
Archivist and Electronic Records/Metadata Specialist,
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Institute,
University of Texas, Austin
Seth Shaw
Electronic Records Archivist,
Duke University Archives
Rob Spindler
University Archivist and Head, Archives and Special Collections,
Arizona State University Libraries
Susan Thomas
Digital Archivist and Project Manager, Bodleian Library,
Oxford University
Dave Thompson
Digital Curator,
Wellcome Library
Jennifer Waxman
Senior Manager for Preservation & Access,
Center for Jewish History

Direct to Full Text Report (7 pages; PDF)

See Also: You’ve Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content Received on Physical Media
The first report in the series. Plus, embedded video overview by author. Released on August 22, 2012.

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.