S.305 Art of collection development for web archiving

This session was a great way to begin my Friday of SAA. Each of the presenters focused their presentations on these issues related to web archiving:

1. Collection development strategies

2. Impact of strategies and policies/guidelines on practice

3. Collaborative collection development

4. Social media collecting

5. Access and copyright considerations

Kate Stratton of the Gates Archive described her process as “building the ship as it sails”. I love this metaphor. I often think of web archiving as this huge elephant to wrangle, when in fact as Kate and the other presentors emphasized, one can break down the pieces of web archiving into reasonable chunks that create a sustainable program. Kate offered these pieces to consider, as a way of “connecting the dots” to form a cohesive web archiving program:

Mission- collection policy- available resources- donor/stakeholder imput- relationship between physical and digital collections. By thinking meaningfully about web archiving and our broader collection development practices we can create a set of policies and practices that integrate web content into our repositories. Most practical, was Kate’s discussion of the tiered quality control approach she takes to web crawling. The collections that are closest to the organization’s mission receive the closest attention.

From Bringham Young University, we heard about how best to appraise content to determine whether it should be collected. Conducting research on the web, exploring current tools or resources, evaluation based on citation or use statistics, user recommendations, AND MY FAVORITE: collaboration with subject specialists to create collections that build on the collecting strengths of the broader institution. 

Sylvie Rollason of Archive-It discussed event based collection development of web content. This is content that is at high risk of being unavailable after the event or crisis ends. By collaborating with partner institutions, we can ensure that these important moments, like the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub are collected and made accessible for current and future researchers. 

Finally, Ted Brian of the Coca-Cola archive discussed his department’s use of web crawling to offer the company brand management and to capture change overtime and impact. 

During the Q & A it became clear that very few institutions represented in the audience had formal collection development policies related to web archiving, or explicit language in current policies that drew attention to that collecting practice. In response to a question that I asked about establishing connections between web content and physical collections, one audience member explained that at her institution they include information and links to the web content through a collection level record in the OPAC, originally created to describe the physical collection. 

How have you developed policies or practices for web content?

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