A few weeks ago, we posted about UARMS’ web archiving program and the work we’re doing to collect and preserve University websites. As archivists, we see websites as important documents that are a fundamental part of today’s culture. Many websites have enduring historical value, and we believe future researchers will be interested in accessing web archives for their unique and rich content.
Another important purpose that our web archives fulfill is much more immediate and relevant to University employees as they do their day-to-day work, especially records management liaisons and web content managers: records management and content recovery. As records managers, we see websites as documents that are being actively created and used in the course of the work done at the University. Many websites are a business record, and as such, previous versions sometimes need to be easily accessed and retrieved for reference.
For example, just a few weeks ago we received an inquiry from a department on campus asking if we could retrieve content that “vanished” from their website after migrating to a new content management system.
Luckily, the web documents that went missing had been archived and preserved in our web archives. They were able to use these to patch-up what the migration wasn’t able to transfer, and update their new site.
In today’s technology landscape, everything is changing all the time. Providing a repository where websites are preserved for the long-term, we are not only creating a body of documentation that will be useful to future scholars; we hope that we are also helping UNC employees feel more confident as they change, update, and yes even delete, their office’s web pages and content.
If you manage your office’s website please let us know. We’d love to add it to our archive, and thus help you better manage and preserve the rich content it contains.
Also, if you are looking for documents–analog or digital–that you think may have been transferred to the Archives let us know, we’re happy to help you search.