Collecting Hard Drives?

Libraries often acquire the papers of famous writers, and these sometimes have drafts of stories, poems, or novels, so that interested scholars can see the process of writerly creation. Are those days dying? Most writers write on computers, I assume, and plenty probably don’t even print out drafts as they go along. Maybe they save them as separate drafts, but unless they’re thinking specifically of scholarly posterity everything might just be one Word file. Maybe one could examine the writing process by hitting Control-Z a million times.

Are there libraries or archives out there that are trying to acquire not just authors’ papers, but perhaps their hard drives as well? Instead of boxes upon boxes of paper, the entire creative life of a typical writer could probably be stored on a flash drive. Even without public digitization, such drives would be useful to study some writers. It’s just something I’ve been wondering about lately, but don’t know of any examples.

2 thoughts on “Collecting Hard Drives?

  1. I’m certainly working on it in the small-scale. We don’t have hard drives yet, but we encourage our SF authors that archive with us to burn born-digital materials to CD or DVD, with a mind to migration later to whatever brilliant preservation method we come up with (still working on that one).
    That being said, when I was in New Orleans for Annual back before Katrina, I went to the gift-shop that is run by and for Anne Rice. At the time, she would purchase a new computer for each novel. Once the novel was finished, she would autograph the hard drive, and sell it at her store.

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