Greetings from the Web Archiving Section: A New Beginning!

The 2021-2022 Steering Committee met for the first time in September to discuss our goals for the upcoming year, and we are looking forward to continuing with our Coffee Chats and publishing some great content in the form of blog and Twitter posts. We would also love for people in our section to get involved and share their ideas, so we invite you to participate by submitting news, announcements, and topics of interest. We also welcome guest contributors to the blog, so please feel free to contact us with your ideas. Members of other SAA sections are encouraged to collaborate with us as well. Please send items and suggestions to Rosie Grant.

We have a few new members of the Steering Committee this year, so we are introducing ourselves by giving a brief introduction of our names, roles, institution affiliations, goals for the section, our favorite web archive, and something we value most or find fascinating about web archiving work.

Melissa Wertheimer

Hello! My name is Melissa Wertheimer, and I’m excited to be back this year as the Chair of the Web Archiving Section (WAS). I’m a Music Reference Specialist at the Library of Congress where my performing arts subject area duties include special collections librarianship, web archives curation, outreach, and acquisitions. I curate and manage three web archive collections for the Music Division, contribute to the Library’s interdisciplinary Coronavirus Web Archive, and represent the Special Collections Directorate on the internal Web Archives Collection Development Group. WAS had a great year last year, and this year’s steering committee is an enthusiastic and energetic group of people both returning (Kiera, Ryder, and myself) and new (Susan, Rosie, and Amanda) to the team. My primary goal leading the section this year is to build upon last year’s momentum with more Coffee Chats, blog and social media activity, and collaboration across SAA sections.

My “favorite” web archive collection always changes. This year, I’ll say it’s the Professional Organizations for Performing Arts Web Archive that I’ve curated at the Library of Congress because it relates to so many other disciplines like labor organizing, education, medicine, and technology. It’s a unique way to demonstrate the impact of the performing arts throughout the fabric of society. Over 100 items are available now, and my seed list has over 500 URLs; my goal is to use scale to preserve interrelatedness and the context of creation as much as possible by crawling websites that relate to each other through hierarchies and affiliations. Do any of our readers do the same with thematic web archives? One of the things I value most about web archives is that I can use many parts of my brain – archivist, subject specialist, digital curator – to curate meaningful collections that speak to the moment.

Susan Paterson
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Greetings! My name is Susan Paterson and I’m the current Vice-Chair of the Web Archiving Section. I am a liaison librarian at Koerner Library at the University of British Columbia Vancouver campus, which is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people. My liaison areas are government information, social work and French studies. My web archiving work stems from my role as a government information librarian. I have been involved in various groups in Canada to document and preserve historical government content. I am the current chair of the Canadian Government Information – Digital Preservation Network, made up of dedicated librarians across Canada who strive to curate federal Canadian government content as well as thematic government collections.

This is my first year as both a SAA and WAS member and I hope to learn much more about web archiving from my colleagues. I’m excited to network and collaborate with other web archiving enthusiasts as well as get to know other sections of SAA. I hope to build on the tremendous work of past committee members to make this section both a welcoming and an invaluable resource for web archivists. One of my favourite web archives I’ve helped to curate this year has probably been the COVID-19 Pandemic in British Columbia collection. We started to curate the collection at the start of March 2020 and we are still crawling important content. The sites are updated so frequently that i hope we’ve captured important content for future researchers.

Kiera Sullivan

Hi, all! My name is Kiera Sullivan (she/her/hers) and I am the Secretary of the Web Archiving section. I recently took up a new position as Processing Archivist for the County of San Diego, California. Previously, I was the University Records Processor at UC San Diego Special Collections & Archives. I am so happy to be returning for another year as Secretary of this section. Our section’s coffee chats were a major highlight for me last year, and I am excited for them to continue. The Steering Committee is making the coffee chats a priority again this year, and we are also hoping to engage other SAA sections in this endeavor. If you have any topics or themes that you’d like to suggest for a coffee chat, please do let us know!

One of my favorite web archive collections has to be the National Library of Ireland Collections 2011-2018, collected by the National Library of Ireland. I have recently been doing personal research on the Easter Rising of 1916, and am so happy I found this treasure trove. This collection includes quite a few websites of interest, many of which were captured for the centennial in 2016. What I find most fascinating about web archiving is that it is so dynamic, just like the content that it captures. It seems there are always tools, methods, and ideas to consider, and that makes it very exciting and gratifying.

Ryder Kouba

Hi, my name is Ryder Kouba and I’m the Education Coordinator for the Web Archiving section. I recently began my position as Librarian and Archivist at the American Center of Research in Amman, Jordan and am excited to start a web archiving program to document relevant materials to the institution. Previously I managed the Archive-It account for the American University in Cairo and then used Webrecorder to capture relevant pages while at the University of Hong Kong Archives. This is my second year as Education Coordinator, and this year I’m hoping to facilitate training in web archiving tools; it would be great to learn from archivists who have experience implementing tools such as Heritrix and Webrecorder since the command line can be a bit intimidating.

Last year, I mentioned my favorite web archive was the Politics and Revolution collection at the American University in Cairo; this year I’m proud of the 50 gigabytes of social media data I captured while working at the University of Hong Kong, documenting student protests and reaction to recent events in Hong Kong, though it is not accessible yet.

Rosie Grant

Greetings SAA – I’m Rosie Grant, and I’m the current SAA Web Archives Marketing and Communications Manager. I work for the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland where I’m a graduate student at the UMD iSchool, focusing on archives and digital curation. On the side, I run a TikTok about local cemeteries in the DC area. Previous to that, I worked as the digital manager at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. What I hope for in this committee is to be able to feature and amplify the current stories of people in web archiving and the work of this talented community. There are so many tools and resources being made available that I’m looking to learn more about myself.

Recently I’ve been appreciating the crowdsourced web archives of Find A Grave, owned by Ancestry.com and a great source for looking up cemetery history and a database of individuals buried around the country. It’s great for genealogical purposes as well as cemeteries working to collect information about those interred there. What I find the most valuable about web archiving is the amount of open source tools available for archivists. Often when I think about web archives, I think about expensive and inaccessible technology for smaller and under-resourced archives. It’s incredible to learn about the number of tools being made available and are more accessible for such groups.

Amanda Greenwood

Hello everyone! My name is Amanda Greenwood (she/her/hers), and I am the Student Member of the Web Archiving section. Currently, I am finishing up my MSIS in Archives and Records Administration at the University of Albany, New York (UAlbany), and I am working in the Special Collections/Archives and Preservation departments at UAlbany. In 2020, I was awarded the Anna Radkowski-Lee Web Archives Graduate Assistantship at the University at Albany, New York, and I managed over 40 web archives collections using Archive-It and Conifer. This year, I will contribute to the committee by helping to manage our section blog, so I am interested in recruiting writers that can help keep our community up-to-date with trends, new and helpful technology, and important web archiving projects.

My favorite web archive is one that I captured and preserved earlier this year. The No Gun Ri Digital Archive was created by UAlbany’s Dr. Donghee Sinn, along with members of her No Gun Ri Research Team, and it acts as a digital memorial that describes a mass killing of South Korean civilians by the United States Army in the beginning of the Korean War. It serves not only to make others aware of this crime, but to give a voice to the survivors and families of the massacred so that they can tell this event from their point of view. What I value most about web archives is that websites from the past are made accessible today. I love visiting the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and randomly looking at websites that were originally put on the web in the late 1990s!