Community Webs to bring web archiving to public libraries

June 30th, 2017

by Sylvie Rollason-Cass

Community Webs logo

Are you a public librarian interested in expanding your local history collections to include web archives? If so, you’re in luck! The Internet Archive is accepting applications from public librarians to participate in a program of continuing education, training, and services to enable public libraries to build collections of historically-valuable, web published materials documenting their local communities. The Community Webs program is offered by the Internet Archive in partnership with WebJunction, and with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Many public libraries have active local history collections that collect print and analog materials documenting their region. But in an age where information about local events is being circulated exclusively via websites, blogs, and social media, it can be challenging to collect, preserve, and provide access to this content. Public libraries are largely underrepresented in the web archiving community, accounting for only 7 of the 500+ institutions that have used or are currently using Archive-It. The 2013 and 2016 NDSA Web Archiving Surveys show similar numbers, with public libraries representing only 2% of the national web archiving community in each survey. Be it due to the technical challenges, the lack of training opportunities, or the lack of a community of public library-based practitioners, there is a critical national need to develop skills among public librarians in digital stewardship activities like web archiving.

This is where the Community Webs project comes in. Participants in this project will receive a 0.50 TB archival data budget per year for five years to build local history web archive collections using Archive-It, including a public access portal to their web archive collections and perpetual storage of all archived content. Participants will also have access to trainings on the Archive-It software, and on topics like collection development and community engagement, as well as an annual stipend to attend cohort meetings, conferences, other professional development opportunities, and local events.

The only requirements to apply are an interest in web archiving and time to devote to the project (2 hours a week plus annual cohort meetings and conferences). Prior technical knowledge or web archiving experience is not expected — you’ll learn as you go.

We are accepting applications through August 25th. Find out more on the Community Webs project page and feel free to direct any questions about the program to Maria Praetzellis (Maria and Sylvie Rollason-Cass (Sylvie Apply now!