Empowering Public Libraries to Create Community History Web Archives


Local history collections have long served as vital resources for dynamic communities, but how are they adapting to the predominance of web-based publishing? The ability to preserve local records from online news, local blogs, social media, and other platforms is an increasingly important skill for librarians seeking to fulfill their role as information custodians and community anchors in the age of the web.

Web content is inherently ephemeral, with an average lifespan of only ninety days. By including web archives in their collecting activities, librarians can play an active role in preserving the contemporary records of their communities and ensure that these unique materials are accessible for use as a trusted source in the future.

Interested in learning more? The Internet Archive is accepting applications from public librarians for a funded program of continuing education, training, and services in the field of web archiving. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. PDT on Friday, August 25.


A two year IMLS funded program to provide education, applied training, cohort support, and web archiving services for public librarians to develop expertise in web archiving.

The project will preserve over 35 terabytes of community heritage materials for long-term access, create open educational resources relating to web archiving and digital preservation and explore new forms of local engagement and partnerships through public programming support.


Each library will receive the equivalent of $25,000 in web archiving services, equaling a 0.50 TB archival data budget per year for five years (extending beyond the two years of this project) to build local history web archive collections. This includes access to and training on the Archive-It web application.

Each librarian will also receive $3,250 per year to attend cohort meetings, participate in training, conferences and professional development, and local events.


  • Project activities averaging 2 hours a week in staff time
  • Six project-related virtual trainings (spread over 2 years)
  • In-person cohort meetings (1 per year; costs covered per above)
  • Attendance at a local/regional conference to speak on or promote the project (1 per year; costs covered per above)
  • Opportunities to contribute to documentary materials and publish on outcomes (such as blogging or writing case studies)
  • Participate in a cohort community via online forum, feedback, etc.


We recognize that public libraries come in many shapes and sizes (tribal, military, volunteer run, rural, etc.). The goal of Community Webs is to expand the types of institutions collecting web based content. Public libraries of all types are encouraged to apply. Applicants should be in a position to implement and complete a multi-year program within their institution. Prior technical knowledge is not required or expected.


Check out our FAQs page

Find out more by watching our Community Webs Webinar  (via TechSoup)

Send any questions to:

Maria Praetzellis, Program Manager – Archive-It  Maria @archive.org

Sylvie Rollason-Cass, Web Archivist – Archive-It  Sylvie @archive.org



Community Webs Program Partners