The UNC Libraries started a web archiving project in January 2013 (read more about that here), but the Internet Archive has been saving websites for much, much longer. In fact, they have saved over 366 BILLION web pages since 1996, accessible through the Wayback Machine.
In the Wayback Machine you can see an archive of UNC.edu since 1997, not to mention tons of other websites. Take a moment to search for some of your favorite websites and see what they looked like 10 (or more!) years ago. Not surprisingly, the Web has changed quite a bit since then.
Here is a snapshot of UNC’s homepage from April , 27 1997 featuring a very creative and informative acrostic linking to University departments and offices.
Does anyone else think we should bring back the acrostic? What would your acrostic be?
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Luckily, the web documents that went missing had been archived and preserved in our web archives.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.
If you have ever stumbled across a webpage with this banner across the top of it, you’ve encountered the Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine was developed by the Internet Archive in 1996 to start archiving the web, and since then it has collected around 240 billion web pages.
In 2006 the Internet Archive launched Archive-It, which is a hosted service that allows institutions to create their own web archives.
In January of 2013, the UNC Libraries began archiving websites in five different collections. These collections support existing collecting areas in the Libraries and include
You can browse all of our collections through Archive-It, and individual websites have been cataloged for access through the UNC Libraries’ catalog.
Additionally, websites that are part of existing archival collections are described in that collection’s finding aid. For example, you can see description of and get access to an archived version of the North Carolina Literary Festival’s 2009 website from the finding aid for the records of the North Carolina Literary Festival.
Here’s a snippet from that web site, showing the banner that Archive-It uses to let the viewer know that they’re looking at an archived web page.
What are we missing? Are there any web pages you’d like to see in our collections?