Here’s your post-Thanksgiving Web Archiving Roundup for November 26, 2017:
On Thursday, November 2, it was announced that the online-only, city-centric news outlets Gothamist and DNAinfo had been abruptly shuttered — archives and all — by owner Joe Ricketts in response to the organization’s vote to unionize. Both online newspapers, Gothamist (and LAist, DCist, Chicagoist, and SFist) and DNAinfo were updated numerous times each day, with a focus on local news, events, food, and culture.
This special edition of the Web Archiving Roundup takes a look at what others are saying about Gothamist and DNAinfo — and online news — in the wake of their sudden shutdown.
- Archive, archive, archive: NiemanLab links to several external efforts to archive both Gothamist and DNAinfo, and reminds us of the risks of ‘billionaire-funded media.’ (Archived link.)
- What We Lose in the Disappearing Digital Archive: on Splinter, David Uberti writes: ‘It’s likely that additional existing [online] publications will close in the face of economic upheaval, leaving their sites vulnerable to technical failure without consistent upkeep.’ Uberti also speaks with Abbie Grotke, web archiving team lead at the Library of Congress, who discusses the difficulties of capturing online news. (Archived link.)
- When your server crashes, you could lose decades of digital news content — forever: in 2014, the Columbia Missourian suffered a server crash and ‘in less than a second, the newspaper’s digital archive of fifteen years of stories and seven years of photojournalism were gone forever.’ What’s worse, as Edward McCain writes, is that ‘very little is known about the policies and practices of news organizations when it comes to born-digital content.’ (Archived link.)
- If a Pulitzer-finalist 34-part series of investigative journalism can vanish from the web, anything can: written in 2015, ‘Raiders of the Lost Web‘ argues that ‘the web, as it appears at any one moment, is a phantasmagoria. It’s not a place in any reliable sense of the word. It is not a repository. It is not a library. It is a constantly changing patchwork of perpetual nowness. You can’t count on the web, okay? It’s unstable. You have to know this.’ (Archived link.)
Tools and additional links:
Conference alert: on November 15 and 16, follow along with Dodging the Memory Hole, a conference dedicated to the issue of preserving born-digital news content.
Here are a few quick links on recent web archiving topics:
- Remembering October 1. Multiple Las Vegas institutions are joining forces to document last month’s horrific mass shooting, its aftermath, and the community’s response using a multi-tech approach to web archiving. The project is actively accepting contributions from the general public. Live link
- History of Syria’s war at risk as YouTube reins in content. Excerpt: “Syrian activists fear all that history could be erased as YouTube moves to rein in violent content. In the past few months, the online video giant has implemented new policies to remove material considered graphic or supporting terrorism, and hundreds of thousands of videos from the conflict suddenly disappeared without notice. Activists say crucial evidence of human rights violations risks being lost — as well as an outlet to the world that is crucial for them.” Live link
- Archiving the Belgian web. The Royal Library of Belgium launched Preserving Online Multiple Information: towards a Belgian strategy (PROMISE) on 1 June 2017, and aims to develop a federal strategy for the preservation of the Belgian web. Live link
- Visualizing the changing web. With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Web Science and Digital Libraries Research Group at Old Dominion University aims to visualize webpage changes over time. Live link
- Web archiving labor. Jessica Ogden explores digital labor in relation to web archiving in “Web Archiving as Maintenance and Repair.” Live link
- Evaluating a web archiving program. The Dutch National Library asks, “How can we improve our web collecting?” Live link
- Open call. Rhizome announces its open call for participation in its National Forum on Ethics and Archiving the Web. Proposals are due November 14, 2017: Live link