Web Archiving Roundup: November 2020

Welcome to a new year with the Web Archiving Section! 

The new section Steering Committee met for the first time earlier this month and we’re all very excited about the coming year! One of our goals is to make the blog more active. We’d like to invite you to participate by submitting news, announcements, and other topics of interest. If you have a topic that you’d like to expand on, we’re also looking for guest contributors. Please send items and suggestions to April Feldman. Hope to hear from you soon.

Since we’ve all shared our “brief introductions” with the section via our candidate statements we’ve decided not to repeat ourselves. Instead, in this post, we’d like to introduce all of you to our favorite web collections. Our only requirement was that it be a collection we’ve personally worked on.

Tori Maches, Digital Archivist, UC San Diego

My favorite UCSD web archive collection is our San Diego Local Governments collection. It’s one of our oldest collections, dating back to 2007, and covers local municipal and government agency websites, as well as websites related to local government activity. I grew up in San Diego, and remember interacting with some of these websites when they looked the way they did in the earliest crawls. Recontextualizing websites you used in high school as historical objects is a weird experience, and it’s a good reminder of how quickly things change online.

Melissa Wertheimer, Music Reference Specialist, Library of Congress

I’m excited to share the LC Commissioned Composers Web Archive. This was my first venture with web archives, and I’ve been curating it since 2018. I’m a flutist who specializes in contemporary repertoire, so the topic felt natural! I think web archives are perfect for a digital record of the Music Division’s active commissioning of living jazz and classical composers. This collection is a resource in itself, but also leads users to our unique collection materials through abstracts with links to finding aids for composers’ papers and online catalog records for commissions’ manuscripts and electronic files.

Ryder Kouba, Collections Archivist, University of Hong Kong (Pok Fu Lam)

The Egyptian Politics and Revolution Collection (started by Stephen Urgola and Carolyn Runyon) documented Egyptian politics from 2011-present day (though politics have been dead since 2014 or so). As many archivists have written about collecting in the US, concerns over privacy were paramount, though difficult in a (for a time) fluid situation. Website blocking and censorship also made our work more difficult in finding content, but more important in providing access to blocked websites through the Wayback Machine (which was temporarily blocked in Egypt, logically we had concerns over exactly why the government decided to reverse that decision).

April Feldman, University Archivist, California State University, Northridge

We don’t have an active web-archiving program per se, so I haven’t worked on a favorite collection yet. We’re trying to implement a starter program, something small and scalable. In the meantime, we’ve just started using the Wayback Machine to capture limited Cal State Northridge websites and Wakelet for websites and social media posts related to CSUN’s Covid-19 response. I’m a project team of one right now, trying to figure it out as I go (love that OJT!) I’m completely open to suggestions or tales of woe if anyone wants to share.

Kiera Sullivan, University Records Processor, UC San Diego

The collection that I would like to highlight is the UC San Diego Web Archives collection. This is perhaps unsurprising, considering my role in the University Archives! This large collection captures a wealth of information from websites across the campus administration and community. Part of what I love about this collection is that although it is already extensive, there is a ton of room to grow and refine. This year, I will be working on identifying gaps in our collecting of student and community content, scoping crawls to address those gaps, and also improving the existing metadata across the collection.

Allison Fischbach, Research and Archives Associate, Towson University / MLIS student in Archives and Digital Curation, University of Maryland iSchool

The collection I am most proud of is our COVID-19 University Response Collection. This is the first web collection I have curated, and it is especially precinct as the pandemic continues. What I like about this collection is that it includes both valuable information about how institutional operations responded to COVID-19, as well as how the community continues to enact positive change. It is a collection that continues to grow, and one I know will have monumental value to future users. I feel fortunate to be able to work with it as a student archivist.