The Guardian has an excellent short piece about what Emory University's Salman Rushdie archive consists of. While we may call them Rushdie's "papers," the real treasures lie on his old computers and hard drives. That's where we get to see his sticky notes and daily calendars, his emails and first drafts. And best of all: scholars will be able to use the power of search instead of trawling through indices or trusting that earlier archivists properly cataloged each and every item.
Emory's Rushdie archive included not only the writer's papers, but also his old computers and hard drives. And there, on the slide, was the symbol for an old Apple Macintosh computer and in its directory listing was a folder entitled, simply, "My Money". And at that moment, if you will forgive the pun, the penny dropped... the idea of university archivists turning up at Rushdie's apartment and taking away every computer, hard drive, CD-Rom disk and USB stick in his possession had never crossed my mind. And yet that's what involved if you buy somebody's "papers" these days.
Why Rushdie? Well, says Erika Farr, Emory's director of born-digital initiatives: "Rushdie's archive is pretty remarkable and high profile. It's a perfect one to start with. Much of his archival material after the 1980s, including daily calendars, virtual sticky notes, email correspondence and first drafts of novels, never existed on paper. We have close to his entire digital life up to 2006."
Read the full story at the Guardian.
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