Born Digital: From Kilobytes to Terabytes Virtual Exhibit Walk-through: Where Did We Begin? (Case 1)

Project Digital Archivist
Brenna Edwards

Hello, and welcome! Due to COVID-19 and Rose Library being closed, we’ve decided to do a  weekly virtual walk-through of our current exhibit, Born Digital: From Kilobytes to Terabytes

For a more in-depth tour, see below for upclose photographs and exhibit text. Be sure to click through photographs of each case to view the entire thing!  

Introductory panel to Born Digital: From Kilobytes to Terabytes)]

Every text sent, every document created, every photograph taken – born-digital items are created by the thousands every single hour. These materials are vast and ever-growing, both in size and formats.  

 But how did born digital begin? And when did Rose Library start collecting this material? How are we managing the exponential growth?  

 In this exhibit, we examine the collecting story of born digital materials at Rose Library alongside the evolution of the technology creating these materials. 

 Case 1:  

When Did We Begin?: The acquisition in 2006 of Salman Rushdie’s papers, which included four computers and a hard drive, launched Rose Library’s born digital collecting.  This early Macintosh computer, circa1977played an important role in Rushdie’s writing. 

“Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.” ― Arthur C. Clarke 

Lucille Clifton used this Magnavox VideoWriter primarily during her time at St. Mary’s College of Maryland to compose poetry and teaching materials. Magnavox had a proprietary format, much like Adobe Creative Suite does today, so capturing the data off these disks proved a challenge. 

“What a computer is to me is the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.” ― Steve Jobs 

Where Did We Begin? panel with a view of Salman Rushdie’s open Mac G3 laptop.

Full view of items in case 1.

View of Salman Rushdie’s closed Mac G3 laptop [left] and Lucille Clifton’s Magnavox VideoWriter [right].

Collections in this case:  

Thank you for visiting the exhibit via our virtual tour! Walkthrough the tour with us every Monday in April! See you next week when we will explore Case 2:Storage!