Accessibility statement

Digital Materials at the Borthwick Institute

The Borthwick Institute for Archives collects born-digital archival materials in many formats with the intent of making them accessible for learning and research.

What are born-digital materials?

When we talk about born-digital materials, we mean any file that started life in a digital format. This is in contrast to digitised materials, which started life in an analogue format (for example, printed materials, handwritten documents, audiocassette tapes or VHS, etc.) and were then converted to a digital format.

What kind of born-digital materials does the Borthwick collect?

The Borthwick Institute promotes learning and research by documenting, preserving, and making accessible distinctive collections and records. Increasingly, these collections and records are born-digital. The Borthwick has been actively collecting these materials since the arrival of our first digital archivist in 2012. We collect digital materials in many formats, including but not limited to:

  • Text-based documents (for example, Microsoft Word files and PDFs);
  • Spreadsheets;
  • Presentation slides;
  • Images;
  • Sound and video recordings;
  • CAD drawings and 3D models;
  • Datasets and databases;
  • Email.

What about Websites?

Information published online forms a unique and integral part of the historical and cultural record. Much of the content we might once have received as printed documents is now made available exclusively via the web. 

The Borthwick’s Web Archiving programme creates archival copies of selected websites, capturing as much as possible of the appearance and functionality of each site at a particular point in time. This work happens in collaboration and with the permission of website owners.

You can find more information about our Web Archiving programme here.

I have some digital materials that I might like to deposit with you. How do I start that process?

If you are interested in learning more about depositing digital materials at the Borthwick Institute, please get in touch. You can reach us at We’ll begin by collecting some information from you about the materials and will work with you to plan their transfer. Our conversations with you will help us understand your materials, and how best we can preserve them and make them accessible. This will also give us an opportunity to answer any questions you may have about our approaches to preservation and access.


Please do not send copies of your digital material to us without ensuring that you have a back-up copy elsewhere. We recommend you do not delete your copies of the data until we have confirmed with you that we have received them and are happy to take over their custody.