Sharing best practices with partners and friends at BPE 2015

December 17th, 2015

by Courtney Mumma

Every year, members of our Archive-It team have the opportunity to meet up with many of our partners at the Best Practices Exchange. This year, we were able to greet conference-goers with a welcoming social and thank the BPE community for their support over the years with a lovely conference reception at the architecturally stunning State Capitol of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg.

BPE 2015

Pennsylvania State Capitol, BPE Reception, courtesy of Archive-It.

BPE’s hosts from the Pennsylvania State Archives provided an excellent program, though we were only able to stay for the first day. Doug Robinson, Executive Director of the National Association of Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) summarized trends in state government information technology, emphasizing a move to service-based infrastructure and a focus on data security. Bryan Collars and Brian Thomas of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History gave a detailed account of their methodology for selecting the tools for their digital repository, and Mark Myers of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission followed up with a demonstration of their repository platform.

In the afternoon, there was an Archive-It meetup which included around 30 partners and was a condensed version of the Annual Archive-It Partner meeting We provided partners and others interested in web archiving with the opportunity to get together to discuss best practices and share experiences from their web archiving programs. In the first part of the session, we presented the group with updates about partners as well as ongoing and upcoming projects. Then, we gave a comprehensive update about 5.0 development. Everyone seemed to share our excitement about all the new features and enhancements in this major update to the web application.

During the second half of the session, there were group discussions on topics such as quality assurance, access, research opportunities, and metadata. There was a lively discussion about archival preservation of WARCs, which ranged from basic packaging and storage in a local or hosted trusted digital repository to unpacking and normalizing WARC content and parsing of WARC metadata. Attendees were pleased to discover that there were several projects ongoing and in the beginning stages which would address some of their preservation concerns. More on these efforts over the next year, including ways that partners can participate.

We heard from several attendees that new people had taken over responsibility for web archiving in their institutions and were in need of training. We were grateful for the opportunity to remind them, as well as all our partners, that the online Application Training is offered on a regular basis and that you are not limited to attending only once. Sessions are offered twice per month and last around 75 minutes. You can find dates and sign-up information here, where you’ll also find videos of this and other trainings, including advanced-level. So, if your institution has a new person responsible for web archiving or if you just need a refresher, please consider attending!

Thanks again to Best Practices Exchange for their ongoing support for our partner community, and to our hosts in Harrisburg for providing a lively and informative program in a fantastic venue.