Author Archives: Lori Donovan

Internet Archive Launches Collaborative, Web-Based Art Resources Preservation and Access Initiative

Much of the art gallery, artist, and arts organization materials that were once published in print form are now available primarily or solely on the web. These groups, like many in the cultural sector, have also been hit especially hard by the global pandemic, making their web presences particularly at-risk of being lost if they are not proactively collected and preserved.The creation of reference and research resources that promote streamlined access and enable new types of scholarly use will ensure that the art historical record of the 21st century, and especially of our current global pandemic, is readily accessible far into the future.

For this reason, the Internet Archive, along with the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC), are pleased to announce our project Consortial Action to Preserve Born-Digital, Web-Based Art History & Culture. The project recently received a two-year, $305,343 Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant from the Division of Preservation and Access at the National Endowment for the Humanities. This award will support the formation of a cooperative group of 30+ art and museum libraries from across the United States to collaborate on the preservation of, and access to vital arts content from the web. 

The Internet Archive has a long history of building and supporting collaborative communities and providing non-profit web, preservation, and access services to cultural heritage organizations. The multi-institutional initiative between Internet Archive, NYARC, and other arts and museum organizations will build on similar community-based archiving and professional cultivation projects in the Community Programs group, especially our Community Webs program, currently expanding nationally and internationally. Community Webs has received funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and IMLS to provide public libraries and cultural heritage organizations with services, training, and professional development opportunities to document their diverse local history. 

NYARC are pioneers in collaborative web archiving and shared services, among art and museum libraries. NYARC’s robust web archive collections encompass art resources, artists’ websites, auction catalogs, catalogues raisonnes, and hundreds of New York City gallery websites. The Internet Archive and NYARC have partnered on work to build born-digital collecting capacity among arts organizations in the past, most recently in the IMLS-funded Advancing Art Libraries and Curated Web Archives National forum and related events.  Through discussions, workshops and roadmapping sessions with leaders in art and museum libraries, a strategy and plan  towards an inclusive, sustainable, cooperative approach to collecting and stewarding born-digital, locally-focused art history collection was developed, forming the basis of this broader cooperative effort.

Members in the project’s preliminary group of art and museum libraries will select topics and specific web content that is relevant to their expertise, will provide metadata to facilitate access to archived content, and will participate in planning and evaluation meetings, all while curating a valuable reference resource that will enhance their traditional collecting areas. The Internet Archive will coordinate communications, facilitate governance and collective curatorial activities, provide technical digital library and archive services, and help enable members to build and maintain discovery and access platforms, as well as facilitate researcher use of the collections resulting from the group’s work.

If your art or museum library is interested in joining this collaborative effort, please fill out this participation form by July 31 to join us! 

Community Webs joins the Digital Public Library of America

Internet Archive’s Community Webs program is delighted to announce a partnership with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) to ingest metadata from the over 700 publicly available Community Webs web archive collections into DPLA. These collections include thousands of archived websites and millions of individual web-published resources that document local history and underrepresented groups. The Internet Archive has been a DPLA content provider since 2015, primarily contributing content from our many print digitizing partnerships. Community Webs will also join DPLA as a member and we are excited for this opportunity to add hyperlocal born-digital and web collections from public libraries nationwide into DPLA’s national portal to cultural heritage collections.

The Community Webs program was launched in 2017 to provide training, infrastructure, services, and professional community cultivation for public librarians across the country for the purpose of documenting local history and community archiving, especially documenting communities and populaces traditionally excluded from the historical record. The program is in the midst of nationwide expansion and currently includes more than 100 member public libraries who are collaborating with local organizations, movements, and groups to document the lives and accomplishments of their citizens. The program continues to add new public libraries and cultural heritage organizations to support and scale their community archiving and has an open call for applications in the US, Canada, and internationally for additional public libraries and local heritage organizations to join the program. Examples of Community Webs collections include:

  • Community Webs members have created more than 30 collections documenting local responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, including COVID-19 Coronavirus East Baton Rouge Parish from East Baton Rouge Parish Library and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s “Novel Coronavirus COVID-19” collection which focuses on “the African diasporan experiences of COVID-19 including racial disparities in health outcomes and access, the impact on Black-owned businesses, and cultural production.” 
  • Community Webs members have created a number of collections documenting LGBTQ groups, events and other resources, including LGBTQIA/Hormel Resources from San Francisco Public Library and Birmingham Public Library’s “LGBTQ in Alabama” collection.
  • Members are also actively archiving materials on their local or regional culture, such as Kansas City Public Library’s Arts & Culture collection, which “documents Kansas City’s thriving arts community, including galleries, museums, nonprofits, advocacy organizations, criticism and art spaces.”
  • Many members have focused on documenting local social services or advocacy groups, such as Madison Public Library’s Racial Equity and Social Justice, Madison, WI collection of “organizations and non-profits that engage in public discourse on issues of racial equity and social justice.”

Working with a mission-aligned organization like DPLA and our shared values of collaboration, open access, and community empowerment made it an obvious fit for Community Webs member collections to also be available in DPLA. Some public libraries who are a part of the Community Webs program are also members of local or statewide DPLA content hubs, and already have digitized content available in DPLA.The partnership between DPLA and Community Webs will ensure that archived web and born-digital collections are accessible alongside similar digitized materials for seamless discovery and access for uses. Pairing Community Webs’ free archiving, infrastructure, education, and other services with DPLA’s aggregation tools, hubs networks, and its advocacy role will help expand national access and capacity for making primary sources, and a more diverse archival record, accessible to any online user,

“DPLA’s new partnership with the Community Webs program will help further our mission to provide free digital access to cultural heritage artifacts that inform a truly representative history of our nation, “ said Shaneé Yvette Murrain, director of community engagement for DPLA. “We are thrilled to be deepening our work with Internet Archive through a program so perfectly aligned with our organizations’ shared values.”

“Pairing the community web archives of 100+ public libraries and the cohort cultivation that are part of Community Webs with the national scope and professional networks native to DPLA is a perfect match. We are excited to expand access to these amazing grassroots digital collections,” said Jefferson Bailey, Director of Web Archiving & Data Services at Internet Archive.

We are excited to be partnering with DPLA to increase access to these vital community history collections and look forward to building more integrations and furthering this collaboration in the years to come.

Community Webs Seeks Applicants from the US, Canada and Around the World

The Internet Archive is seeking applicants for its next cohort of Community Webs! We are thrilled to announce that the program is now open to additional cultural heritage organizations in the US, as well as any public library or local memory organization in Canada and internationally.

Community Webs provides infrastructure and services, training and education, and professional community cultivation for public libraries and cultural heritage organizations to document local history and the lives of their communities. Launched in the US in 2017 with kickoff funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Community Webs began expanding nationally in 2020 with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Building on the program’s success and continued growth, Internet Archive is now supporting expansion of the program into Canada and to the international community, and is accepting applications for our next cohort kicking off in late-Summer 2021. The deadline for applications is August 2, 2021.

The program offers a unique opportunity for participating organizations to build capacity in digital collecting. Community Webs participants work alongside peer organizations and with their local communities to document the lives of their citizens, marginalized voices, and groups often absent from the historical record. All Community Webs participants receive: 

  • A guaranteed multi-year free subscription to the Archive-It web archiving service, which includes perpetual storage and access provided by the Internet Archive.
  • Access to additional Internet Archive non-profit services, such as digitization and digital preservation, either for free (as funding allows) or at or below actual cost.
  • Training and educational resources related to digital collections, web archiving, digital preservation, and other topics, as well as access to a cohort community pursuing similar work and to networking spaces, events, and knowledge sharing platforms.
  • The option to leverage program partnerships and integrations to include community web archives in other aggregators or access platforms beyond Internet Archive.

The program currently includes over 100 public libraries from across the United States. These organizations have collectively archived over 70 terabytes of web-based community heritage materials. Some highlights include:

Archived web page: Reporte Hispano, April 6, 2021. New Brunswick Free Public Library. Spanish Newspapers collection.
Archived web page: KC Friends of Alvin Ailey, January 10, 2021. Kansas City Public Library, Arts & Culture collection.

The benefits of the program are wide-ranging and impactful for both participants and their communities. As Community Webs member Makiba J. Foster of the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Broward County, Florida stated during a recent Community Webs event, Archiving the Black Diaspora, “Community Webs provided me with the training, they provided me with the cohort support, […] provided me with services, and particularly it helped to develop an expertise for me in terms of creating collections of historically significant web materials documenting our local communities.” The program “allowed me to start a project of recovery and documentation of digitally born content related to the Black experience.” More information about what Foster and other Community Webs members are up to can be found by viewing our recent program announcements.

Find out more about the program and keep up to date by visiting the Community Webs website. Apply online today and spread the word! 

Introducing 50+ New Public Library Members of the Internet Archive’s Community Webs Program

The Internet Archive’s Community Webs Program provides training and education, infrastructure and services, and professional community cultivation for public librarians across the country to document their local history and the lives of their patrons. Following our recent announcement of the program’s national expansion, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we are excited to welcome the first class of 50+ new public libraries to the program. This brings the current number of new and returning Community Webs participants to 90+ libraries from 33 states and 3 US territories. This diverse group of organizations includes multiple state libraries representing their regions, as well as a mix of large metropolitan library systems, small libraries in rural areas, and libraries like the Feleti Barstow Public Library in American Samoa. All will be working to document their communities, with a particular focus on archiving materials from traditionally underrepresented groups.

The new cohort class kicked off with virtual introductory events in mid-March, where participants met one another and shared stories about their communities and their goals for preserving and providing access to local history materials. Member libraries are currently receiving training in topics such as collection development and starting to build digital collections that reflect local diversity, events, and culture.

Program participant Kathleen Pickering, Director of the Belen Public Library and Harvey House Museum in Belen, New Mexico notes that their library “is committed to free and open-source electronic resources for our patrons, especially given the low-income status of many of our residents” and Community Webs will help further that goal. Similarly, new cohort member Aaron Ramirez of Pueblo City-County Library District (PCCLD) found Community Webs to be a great fit for existing institutional goals and initiatives. “PCCLD’s five-year strategic plan directs us to embrace local cultures, to include individuals of all skill levels and physical abilities, and to enrich established partnerships and collaborations. The groups that have not seen themselves in our archives will find through this project PCCLD’s intention and means to listen and go forward as allies and as a resource of support, rather than an institution serving only the affluent.”

Makiba J. Foster

Makiba J. Foster, Manager of The African American Research Library and Cultural Center of Broward County, Florida pointed out that “as content becomes increasingly digital, we need this opportunity to document the digital life and content of our community which includes a diverse representation of the Black Diaspora.”  Makiba was a member of the original Community Webs cohort in a previous position at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at New York Public Library, and recently presented on her work archiving the black diaspora to a group of more than 200 attendees.

The Community Webs Program is continuing to grow towards the milestone of over 150 participating libraries across the United States and will soon announce another call for applicants for a U.S. cohort starting in late summer. The program also is beginning to expand internationally, starting in Canada, exploring the addition of other types of libraries and cultural heritage organizations, and expanding its suite of training and services available to participants. Expect more news on these initiatives soon. 

Welcome to our new cohort of Community Webs libraries! The full list of new members: 

  • Alamogordo Public Library (New Mexico)
  • Amelia Island Museum of History (Florida)
  • ART | library deco (Texas)
  • Asbury Park Public Library (New Jersey)
  • Atlanta History Center (Georgia)
  • Bartholomew County Public Library (Indiana)
  • Bedford Public Library System (Virginia)
  • Belen Public Library and Harvey House Museum (New Mexico)
  • Bensenville Community Public Library (Illinois)
  • Biblioteca Municipal Aurea M. Pérez (Puerto Rico)
  • Carbondale Public Library (Illinois)
  • Cedar Mill & Bethany Community Libraries (Oregon)
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (North Carolina)
  • Chicago Public Library (Illinois)
  • City Archives & Special Collections, New Orleans Public Library (Louisiana)
  • Dayton Metro Library (Ohio)
  • Elba Public Library (Alabama)
  • Essex Library Association (Connecticut)
  • Everett Public Library (Washington)
  • Feleti Barstow Public Library (American Samoa)
  • Forsyth County Public Library (North Carolina)
  • Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library (Connecticut)
  • Heritage Public Library (Virginia)
  • Huntsville-Madison County Public Library (Alabama)
  • James Blackstone Memorial Library (Connecticut)
  • Jefferson Parish Library (Louisiana)
  • Jefferson-Madison Regional Library (Virginia)
  • Laramie County Library System (Wyoming)
  • Lawrence Public Library (Massachusetts)
  • Los Angeles Public Library (California)
  • Mill Valley Public Library, Lucretia Little History Room (California)
  • Missoula Public Library (Montana)
  • Niagara Falls Public Library (New York)
  • Pueblo City-County Library District (Colorado)
  • Rochester Public Library (New York)
  • Santa Cruz Public Libraries (California)
  • South Pasadena Public Library (California)
  • State Library of Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania)
  • Tangipahoa Parish Library (Louisiana)
  • The African American Research Library and Cultural Center (Florida)
  • The Ferguson Library (Connecticut)
  • Three Rivers Public Library District (Illinois)
  • Virginia Beach Public Library (Virginia)
  • Waltham Public Library (Massachusetts)
  • Watsonville Public Library (California)
  • West Virginia Library Commission (West Virginia)
  • William B Harlan Memorial Library (Kentucky)
  • Worcester Public Library (Massachusetts)
  • Your Heritage Matters (North Carolina)