Translating Bits: Maintaining (Born-)Digital Heritage

Document Type



Spring 5-3-2021


Monique Lasserre, Brodsky Series, preservation, conservation, digital archives, born-digital




Archival Science | Cataloging and Metadata | Collection Development and Management | Library and Information Science


Monique Lassere, Digital Archivist at Houghton Library, Harvard University, presented at Syracuse University Libraries’ annual Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation. Lassere’s virtual lecture, titled Translating Bits: Maintaining (Born-)Digital Heritage, was held via Zoom on Monday, May 3 from 1:00-2:00 pm EST. The lecture discussed born-digital preservation, a nascent but growing area of work in academic and cultural heritage institutions. Lassere interrogated how born-digital materials and the surrogate materials that constitutes born-digital objects require a reframing of physicality to understand and initiate proper methods for long-term stewardship. This includes strategies such as information maintenance, file format migration, and emulation.

In her role as Digital Archivist at Houghton Library, Harvard University’s rare books, manuscripts, and literary and performing arts archive, Monique Lassere stewards born-digital archival materials within the Manuscript Section. Her research interests include issues in software preservation, born-digital archives, and information maintenance. Prior to joining Harvard, Monique worked for the University Libraries at the University of Arizona, where she oversaw development of the Libraries’ digital preservation strategy and program, and a digital preservation startup company called Digital Bedrock, researching file formats and software obsolescence.