“It might seem, and it often feels, as though stuff on the Web lasts forever, for better and frequently for worse: the embarrassing photograph, the regretted blog (more usually regrettable not in the way the slaughter of civilians is regrettable but in the way that bad hair is regrettable). No one believes any longer, if anyone ever did, that “if it’s on the Web it must be true,” but a lot of people do believe that if it’s on the Web it will stay on the Web. Chances are, though, that it actually won’t.”
In her recent New Yorker article “The Cobweb: Can the Internet be Archived?,” writer Jill Lepore explores the important work of archivists, librarians, and organizations like the Internet Archive in preserving and providing continual access to web content. Her article coincides with a concerted effort in University Archives to proactively document the University’s online history. As of January 2015, UNCG is officially a partner member of the Internet Archive’s service Archive-It.
Archive-It is a subscription web archiving service from the Internet Archive that helps organizations to harvest, build, and preserve collections of digital content. With Archive-It, partner members can collect, catalog, and manage their collections of archived content with 24/7 access and full text search available for their use as well as their patrons. Content is made available through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Also, we in University Archives can link to archived websites using our online collection finding aids.
|A screenshot of UNCG’s homepage in 1997|
Our web archiving work is just beginning, but already a number of key websites have been collected using the Archive-It tool. You can see the sites we’ve archived on our Archive-It member page. Pages captured as of January 26th include the primary website related to the 2015 search for our next Chancellor, the web-based publications of course bulletins that don’t exist in print, the websites for a number of key administrative bodies on campus (Board of Trustees, Faculty Senate, and Staff Senate), and websites for a number of campus departments. In the future, we plan to archive the University’s main social media accounts, websites of many student groups and organizations, and other online content related to the current work of the University.
University Archives is tasked with documenting UNCG’s history, from its founding until today. Today, the University’s web presence is a key part of that history. This new and exciting partnership with the Internet Archive and Archive-It helps us ensure that our current online history is as accessible to scholars as paper records from 50 or 100 years ago are.