A 2021 Archive-It Virtual Partner Meeting recap

October 12th, 2021

by the Archive-It team

Archive-It’s second Virtual Partner Meeting (and fifteenth Partner Meeting overall) was held on September 29, 2021. In case you missed it, you can catch up on recordings and slides from this year’s presentations here in the Archive-It Help Center.

Following the success of last year’s virtual meeting, partners again gathered online using Remo, a virtual event platform that provides interactive networking opportunities in addition to dynamic presentations. A total of 105 attendees joined us from across the US, Canada, and internationally for presentations on web archiving and a quick game of Archive-It Partner Bingo.

An Archive-It Partner Bingo card

An Archive-It Partner Bingo card. Attendees learned more about other participants’ web archiving experiences for a chance to win a prize!

The Internet Archive’s Director of Web & Data Services Jefferson Bailey inaugurated the meeting with a web archiving year in review, giving an overview of the last year of web archiving at home and outlining some new and continuing projects, including our ongoing Covid-19 Campaign. You can read more about these projects and services here.

Senior Engineering Manager Alex Dempsey provided an updated roadmap in addition to an overview of some major developments over the past year, including the upgrade of our web archiving software suite to version 7.1 with the highly-anticipated upgrade to archival replay. Since the last meeting, we have also added 161 new partners and welcomed many new staff members to both our program and engineering teams. 

Archive-It's 2021/2022 strategic goals

Jefferson Bailey (top) and Alex Dempsey (bottom) summarizing some strategic goals and looking forward to the year ahead.

Our program this year provided the opportunity for web archivists to discuss and learn more about web archiving workflows, share their associated technical challenges, and to compare strategies. Elizabeth Heu and Julia Welby (Gates Archive) showcased their in-house description process and controlled access points outside of the public Archive-It access ecosystem. Their techniques provide them with the necessary flexibility to meet the evolving needs of their collections and users specific to a private archive. Amanda Greenwood and Gregory Wiedeman (University at Albany, SUNY) discussed the challenges of managing scope inflation of their Archive-It collections, including the associated labour and time required to re-scope and maintain these collections over time.

This meeting also featured a moderated speaker panel on the theme of event and time based collecting that reflects the range and variety of Archive-It partners and collections. Katherine Martinez (The New School) kicked off our discussion by outlining the process of archiving a student-led online exhibition inspired by life in quarantine titled Covid Supper Club. Kisun Kim (University of British Columbia) highlighted how the intersection of multiple crises in Canada led to the creation of their Covid-19, Racism, and Asian Communities collection. Community Webs partner kYmberly Keeton (ART | library deco), newcomer to web archiving and founder of an online African American digital art library, discussed what sparked the inception of the Texas Black Artists Collective and offered a unique perspective on the challenges faced by smaller organizations and art libraries. Nicole Greenhouse (NYU) described the NYU Special Collections’ first effort of time-based collecting using web archives by looking back at the Occupy Wall Street Movement ten years later.

The panelists face similar challenges in archiving event or time based content that transcend their independent use cases. kYmberly Keeton described the pros and cons of working as a lone arranger, and the other panelists are also no strangers to time and resource constraints. Other recurring themes that emerged throughout the panel included battling content drift and “scope-creep,” ethical considerations of documenting sensitive or difficult content, and the emotional labour involved in archiving events as they unfold in real-time.

Despite the disappointment of not being able to convene in person again this year due to ongoing public health concerns, hosting our event virtually created the opportunity for an even wider range of Archive-It partners and friends to connect and engage in meaningful conversation over their diverse professional experiences. This year, participants were invited to join two sets of self-led discussion sessions with fifteen topics to choose from, including an “Ask Me Anything” table with Jefferson Bailey and Alex Dempsey and a Digital Preservation Service (Vault) Q&A with Program Manager Peggy Lee. Remo’s table-to-table networking feature made it possible for attendees to easily jump into a variety of discussions with just a click of their mouse. You can find discussion notes from breakout sessions here in the Archive-It Help Center.

Partner Meeting discussion topics and conference floor layout.

This year’s discussion topics and conference floor layout, with dedicated break rooms and networking tables.

If you attended this year’s virtual event, don’t miss the opportunity to provide feedback and ideas for future meetings by filling out this quick survey! We look forward to meeting with you again next year, whether that be virtually again or face-to-face!