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Digital humanities: humanities research in the digital age
Digital humanities: humanities research in the digital age

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Session 4 An introduction to born-digital data

This session is written by Andrew Cusworth from The University of Oxford.

Born-digital data is information that, though created, stored, and transmitted by physical devices, has no pre-existing non-digital counterpart. Albeit a recent development, such materials are perhaps most abundant source of information relating to human activity. The vast majority of what would once have been preserved and exchanged using physical objects is now produced and transmitted digitally and in greater quantities than at any other point in history.

Working with born-digital materials lends itself to exotic combinations of traditional and emergent methods of scholarly interrogation; it represents both an exciting frontier in scholarship and a daunting challenge.

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After studying this session, you should have:

  • understood the difference between digitised and born-digital data
  • familiarised yourself with the basic sources of born-digital data
  • reflected on the ways born-digital data can be used for research.