Archives Unleashed and Archive-It Program Update

May 12th, 2021

by the Archive-It team

Archives Unleashed and Archive-It logos

Since 2017, Archive-It and the Archives Unleashed Project have worked together on several shared efforts to support web archival research for social science and humanities scholars. With generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this partnership expanded significantly in 2020 to collaborate on a fully end-to-end service for collecting, archiving, and analyzing web materials. 

This expanded collaboration phase (2020-2023) has two overriding priorities: 1) to integrate Archives Unleashed’s analytical tools with Archive-It’s web archiving platform, and 2) to build a research community of practice through an Archives Unleashed Cohort program.

Project Progress

The project has made significant progress as we near the end of our first year.

A first order of business was to design the new interface for the Archives Unleashed Cloud within the Archive-It web application. With this new interface, Archive-It partners will have the ability to generate and download over a dozen dataset types for each of their web archive collections.

After several iterations guided by both team and user feedback, the team designed a working prototype for the new interface. UX testing with both Archive-It and Archives Unleashed users was a critical piece of development and provided a valuable opportunity to correspond design decisions to actual user workflows. We continue to work closely with stakeholders to conduct the next UX testing and feedback sessions this summer.

Screenshot of the beta user interface for Archives Unleashed in the Archive-It web application

A preview of Archives Unleashed’s technology in the Archive-It web app, showing
image file format groups in a collection of Ontario COVID-19 web resources

Additionally, the project is dedicated to provide robust support for emerging web archival research at scale through the Archives Unleashed Cohort program. Through technical and academic support, the cohort program will prepare research teams to conduct projects advancing computational research using web archives, with the aim of submitting journal-length articles.

The first application period concluded this spring, and the first cohort is set to launch in July 2021. Submissions for the second round, slated to begin in July 2022, will open in May 2022. Please stay tuned!

Next Steps

We are eager to embark on the next steps for this project! We will launch the Beta prototype of the new interface within the next two months, which will allow Archive-It partners to analyze their collections with Archives Unleashed Cloud tools. We will also continue to conduct UX/UI testing and announce further opportunities for stakeholders to provide feedback.

With a cohort launch set for July, we are preparing to bring the selected round 1 research teams together for a kick-off event, to share their goals and further the community-building mission of this program.

For additional information on our progress, please visit the Archives Unleashed Project’s blog.