Internet Archive Launches Program for Local Libraries

With financial support from a federal agency, the Internet Archive is launching a program for libraries around the country to archive community websites in much the same way the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine does.

The Internet Archive, one of the most ambitious websites, has its eyes on the broader internet—saving sites and content, big and small, that highlight our digital history.

But there are cases where librarians at the local level are simply better at saving things than the San Francisco-based archive is. And a new program the nonprofit group is offering could help matters.

The archive is launching Community Webs, a two-year funded education program for public librarians who might be interested in learning how to build a collection of digital content not unlike the one offered by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

Libraries selected by the group will receive $25,000 worth of web-archiving services from the group, the equivalent of 500 gigabytes of content, along with a $3,500-per-year fund to attend meetings related to the Community Webs project.

The concept behind the endeavor is twofold—the archive hopes to update preservation methods for the digital age and improve preservation of local websites.

“Web content is inherently ephemeral, with an average life span of only 90 days,” the organization explains on its Archive-It website. “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.”

The program is being offered with the support of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency.

“We owe a debt of thanks to IMLS for supporting innovative tools and training for librarians and look forward to working with our public library friends and colleagues to advance web archiving within their profession and for the benefit of their local communities,” the Internet Archive’s director of web archiving programs, Jefferson Bailey, wrote in a blog post last month.

Those interested in signing up for the program can learn more at this Google Docs link.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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