Web Archiving Service (WAS): Guest Post by Rosalie Lack

Thank you Teresa for asking me to write about CDL’s WAS. Below is a brief overview of WAS and a web archiving call to action!

What is WAS?

Web Archiving Service (WAS) is the California Digital Library’s web archiving service. WAS provides curator tools for capturing, managing and archiving websites and a public interface for the search and display of archived sites.

Web Archiving ServiceSince its launch in 2007, WAS has served the University of California libraries and affiliated institutions, as well as educational institutions across North America.

Who is WAS? 

You can’t talk about WAS without mentioning Tracy Seneca, now Digital Services Librarian at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Tracy was the WAS Service Manager from the very beginning until she left the CDL in 2012 for a new job opportunity and to return to her beloved Chicago. When Tracy left, I joined the CDL team as the WAS Service Manager. The technical team (on board since the beginning) includes Erik Hetzner (Technical Lead) and Scott Fisher (UX Developer). And, because it takes a village, we also have help from other members of the UC Curation Center (UC3) team as well as other staff across the CDL.

How is WAS used?

There are four ways to characterize how institutions are using WAS: (1) for capturing their institution’s websites with the goal of preserving institutional history and capturing university news and events; (2) for crawling with a geographical focus, such as to capture information on a particular city or county or region; (3) for topical crawls that support research collections; and (4) for event driven crawls around a particular event. All crawls are done within the context of each library’s collection development policy. The event crawls can be different from the others in that there is a usually a clear start and end date for crawls, and unplanned events can require sudden action. A list of archives that you can browse and search is available from the WAS home page – was.cdlib.org

Go forth and crawl!

And now for that call to action … I recently attended the IIPC General Assembly in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The conference brought together dedicated web archivists from all over the world to tackle tough archiving issues having to do with tools, standards, access, and more. This is an exciting time to be involved in web archiving – there are many challenges, but also many great opportunities. I left the conference re-energized about web archiving and reminded of how important it is that we’re not only saving important internet resources, but also building new collections for research and study. Indeed, go forth and crawl!

Rosalie Lack, WAS Service Manager


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