Getting started with web archives: 2018 beginners’ workshop

This page includes the slides, speaker notes, handouts, and worksheets from the beginners’ web archiving workshop led by SAA Web Archiving Section steering committee members at the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) on May 30, 2018. Speaker materials introduce web archiving basics, case studies, tools, and policies. Handouts provide sample strategies and tools for creating a web archive. A short worksheet guides participants to apply what they have learned to articulate their first web collecting needs, goals, and resources.

These materials may be reused “at home” by anyone who wishes to pursue web archiving for the first time and/or remixed for future live or online training events by Section members or their peers. It is released under a CC BY-NC-SA license.

From the original event description:

As our subjects, stakeholders, patrons, and donors increasingly engage each other and the world through online media, librarians and archivists are compelled to steward valuable born digital records into cohesive, preservable collections for future access and use. Web archiving--the process of collecting, preserving, and enabling access to web materials--presents a powerful opportunity for us to develop collections of these otherwise ephemeral resources. The most difficult step towards realizing this potential is often simply getting started; the daunting range of possible collecting scopes, policies, technologies, and workflows can stop a web archiving program before it starts. How does one define an achievable collecting mission, communicate their selection standards, and appropriate the necessary technical, human, and financial resources, without any practical experience in this emergent craft?

Attendees to this workshop will overcome these obstacles with training and support from experts in the practice. The program will begin with a survey of web archiving that establishes a common level of understanding and language, progresses through case studies that represent the judgements and decisions to be made in designing a web archiving program, and conclude with a guided small-group exercise to design and make the first acquisitions into a model web archive.

Specific learning objectives to this end include: understanding the nature and history of web archives as born digital collections; how to craft a mission-driven collection development policy for web archives; how to select among the available acquisition tools and descriptive standards to best support their patrons’ and stakeholders’ needs; and best practices for long-term preservation and access to these resources.