This special issue has grown out of a shared interest by the guest editors in digital archives and the affordances of digital technologies upon archival practices, including the archiving of creative process. Situated within two different but complementary disciplines, film (Atkinson) and dance (Whatley), our aim in this issue has been to bring together a range of viewpoints and perspectives that represents a range of specialisms and subject domains. In conjunction with the fourth in the series of ‘Digital Echoes’ symposia at Coventry University, UK, in January 2014, which brought together a range of speakers and delegates from a broad cross section of the arts, we invited contributions that would capture some of the initiatives and dialogues that are taking place in archival practices within the digital environment. In line with the journal’s title, the convergence between scholars, arts professionals and digital experts has led to a very rich corpus of papers that cover a range of territories and speak to the shift from the closed to the open and from the traditional single-user archive model to emerging multi-user, collaborative forms of archival practices and scholarship. The collection explores how digital preservation and presentation of archival materials dramatically impacts upon the nature and notion of access and how the types of discoveries, insights and findings made through online digital interfaces can be radically altered.