Born Digital: From Kilobytes to Terabytes Virtual Exhibit Walkthrough: Behind the Scenes/Preserving Your Born Digital Materials: (Case 4)

Project Digital Archivist
Brenna Edwards

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

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

Case 4: Behind the Scenes/Preserving Your Born Digital Materials

Right view of case 4 featuring the UltraBlock case from Tableau [right] and an example of how hard drives are hooked up to the write blockers [left].


Front view of the case showing how hard drives are connected to write blockers, as well as the User Guide for the USB write blocker and an outline of what can be found inside the case tacked onto the lid of the case.


Left view of the case featuring the UltraBlock case with write blockers out and a panel describing what digital archivists do with the case.

Behind the Scenes: How can this born digital material be preserved and made available to researchers? Thanks to both open-source software and the digital forensics field, data can be preserved by creating exact bit-by-bit copies (disk images). Once captured off the original media, these files can be scanned for sensitive information and turned into accessible and familiar filetypes. You can view any collection mentioned in this exhibit in the reading room! Digital archivists here at Rose Library use this UltraBlock case from Tableau to capture born digital content. It contains write-blockers for FireWire devices, USB devices, and SATA/IDE devices, along with various cords and converters. Write-blockers protect the original media from being changed, while also allowing original data to be captured.
“Our archives are treasure troves –a testament to many lives lived and the complexity of the way we move forward.” –Sara Sheridan

Closing panel of Born Digital: From Kilobytes to Terabytes discussing how to preserve your own digital archives.

Preserving Your Born Digital Materials: How can you protect and take care of your own born digital material? There’s a general “3-2-1 rule” that applies–3 copies, on 2 different types of storage, with 1 in a remote location. For example, backing up your phone onto your computer and then your computer onto an external hard drive, while also having a copy ina digital cloud service, such as Box or Google Drive. Born digital also includes websites, social media posts, e-books, etc. Digital archivists are working on ways to capture this information to make it available for researchers. Want to learn more about how to preserve your digital archives? Visit UNC’s ( or UVA’s ( guides!
Thank you for visiting the exhibit via our virtual tour!
Collections with materials in exhibit:
Thank you for visiting the exhibit via our virtual tour! Our final walkthrough tour will be next Monday when we will explore Case 4: Behind the Scenes/Preserving Your Born Digital Materials