Our Marathon: One year after the Boston Marathon Bombing

our marathon copySource northeastern.edu/marathon

In the year since the bombing at the Boston Marathon, the digital archive project Our Marathon of Northeastern University in Boston has collaborated with WBUR, the Boston City Archives, and others to bring together stories, videos, photos, social media, and memorial messages in an effort to help the public understand the tragic events that took place during the week of April 15th, 2013 and to promote the healing process. As a community project, they have been hosting events in the Boston area where attendees are able to share their stories. Find out where and when these events are being held on their events page.

The Archive-It team is proud to contribute to the Our Marathon project with web content from our 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing collection. This collection is comprised of contributions from individuals which include news articles, blogs, social media sites, and organizational websites related to the bombing. The full Archive-It collection can be viewed here.

Stories, Maps, and Punk Rock Archives: An NEA Conference Recap

-By Sylvie Rollason-Cass, Partner Specialist

portsmouthSource: http://www.flickr.com/photos/travelingotter/

Last week I traded sandals for snow boots to attend the New England Archivists (NEA) Spring 2014 meeting in Portsmouth NH. As a Midwest transplant living on the West Coast, meeting with New England archivists was a brand new experience for me. I was excited to learn from professionals working in an area with such a rich archival history. Since we on the Archive-It team are on the heels of our 4.9 release and working on 5.0, it was especially exciting to be able meet with a number of our Archive-It partners in person, as well as folks interested in learning more about Archive-It. We had a lot to talk about!

But back to the conference…

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a number of the sessions, and chose to focus primarily on discussions of digital and web archiving. Here is a little more info about a few that stood out:

A conversation with Ian MacKaye:

Ian MacKaye, a punk rock icon with archivist leanings, discussed his Fugazi Live Series archive. He and his team spent countless hours and much of their own money to digitize over a decade’s worth of cassette tapes of Fugazi live shows and compiled them into a website that allows users to download a copy for as little as $1 (or as much as you’d like to contribute).

Nostalgia, Art & the Archive:

A discussion of creative and unusual ways archival materials have been used and issues surrounding their re-use. Specific topics that were covered included the WhatWasThere project, hauntological music, and colorizing historical photographs.

Sharing Stories: The NEA/StoryCorps Project World Café:

Archivists involved in the NEA 2013 Story Corps project with the Worchester, MA community discussed how the project came to be, the role of oral histories in libraries and archives, and some personal experiences interviewing and being interviewed for the project.

Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archives Roundtable & discussion:

Our Marathon is a “memorial and long term preservation project” to collect and preserve content related to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. So far their collection contains photos, videos, oral histories, and web content. The Archive-It team is partnering with the Our Marathon project to incorporate content from our Boston Marathon Bombing collection into the Our Marathon collection. (Keep an eye out for more info about that)

I also had the opportunity to sit in on some of the NEA Jeopardy Tournament. It was a lot of fun, but unfortunately my knowledge of NEA history and New England archival repositories is pretty limited, I was much more comfortable on the sidelines!

Other session topics included open source tools, corporate archival collections, social media, and moving image and sound archives (just to name a few). There just weren’t enough hours in the day to hear more, but I’ll be looking forward to next year!

Descriptions of the sessions are available on the NEA Spring Meeting page, and you can read the tweets on the NEA Spring 2014 Storify.

5 Questions with Reed Tech’s David Wilson

DWilson 3In November we announced Archive-It’s partnership with Reed Tech, including our collaboration to market and expand the Archive-It partner community. We are excited to share that David Wilson of Reed Tech will be meeting with some of our prospective partners to help bring awareness to web archiving and showcase the Archive-It service. Learn more about David below! If you are interested in learning more about Archive-It, please consider attending a live informational webinar by contacting us here.

1.  Before working with the Archive-It Team, what project are you most proud of?

Before working with Archive-It, I assisted many organizations in the legal, financial and healthcare industries as well as different school districts to archive their websites and social media. I am proud of having worked with each organization and providing them with a more efficient manner to archive websites and social media to achieve their various goals.

2.  What kinds of web content would you choose to preserve from the web?

Any web content that is sports-related: league websites, team websites, blogs, and social media. With the rapid evolution of digital communication and social media, how can we know Twitter will exist 40 years from now? It would be really neat to be able to see what the NFL website from 2014 looked like in 2050 or what hashtags were trending during the Masters. Statistics and sporting events are preserved and archived; Hall of Fame museums archive memorabilia and milestones; therefore, archiving digitally-born information to ensure it is available forever will only enhance these other collections for future generations to come.

3.  What is your favorite thing about working with Archive-It Partners?

Archive-It Partners understand the importance of preserving the cultural heritage of an organization. I come from a commercial background where the organizations were typically archiving websites or social media to comply with regulations or record retention policies. In many cases it was a “set it and forget it” scenario, as opposed to an organizational collaboration to create and manage an archive of websites and social media with the intention of having these collections made publicly available forever.

4.  During these cold winter months, what do you do to keep yourself busy when you aren’t working?

Shovel snow!  I’ve become a bit of an expert at this, a connoisseur if you will. I’ve even mastered the two shovel technique! I am very thankful that winter is almost over.

5.  You have some Spanish roots, as well as the experience of studying abroad in Spain. What is your favorite Spanish delicacy?

I could spend hours listing my favorite Spanish cuisine. Over the years I have traveled extensively throughout Spain, visiting my mother’s family and while studying abroad. There are many different foods that I grew up eating regularly, paella, cochinillo asado, tortilla española, and gazpacho. There is one seasonal delicacy that stands out in my mind: Torrijas, a traditional treat during the Easter celebration. Torrijas are very similar to French toast, but sweeter and soaked in wine, and it is socially acceptable to eat them at any time of the day.

Introducing Archive-it 4.9 and Umbra

Today Archive-It released version 4.9, which includes an important first step in implementing Umbra, an additional capture mechanism that works along with Heritrix to help archive dynamic web content. While Heritrix has been improved greatly over the years and continues to be the de-facto solution for web archiving, including sites with Javascript, the rapidly changing web which includes social media and other dynamic content requires new solutions.

Starting today, Archive-It partners will benefit from the integration of Umbra into the web application. This is a completely “under the hood” improvement, and will not impact the user experience in Archive-It.

What is Umbra?

Umbra works in conjunction with the Heritrix crawler and improves the capture of dynamic web content, most commonly seen in social networking sites like Facebook that utilize “client-side scripting”, which can be archive-unfriendly. While Heritrix is a web crawler, Umbra works much like a graphical browser that can mimic certain user behaviors including scrolling through a page and loading prior content on a Facebook timeline, for example.

Today, we are happy to announce that Archive-It partners can use this technology to archive videos posted on Vimeo.com. In addition, partners can use Umbra to capture content from Facebook and Flickr seeds.

What’s Next:

Together, Heritrix and Umbra are an excellent team to archive content from a rapidly changing web and we can expect these tools to continue to improve and be built upon as we develop our next release, Archive It 5.0,  a major overhaul of the web application and user experience.

Ukraine Conflict Collection: Web archive ensures site stability through crisis

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 1.19.40 PMScreenshot of the Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism’s website, captured on March 1, 2014

On March 1st, a group of masked gunmen took over the offices of the Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism. Worried about the security of the institution’s web content, executive director of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, David E. Kaplan, contacted Roger Macdonald of the Internet Archive’s TV Archive, who contacted the Archive-It team. Within a few hours their website was being crawled as a part of Archive-It’s Ukraine Conflict spontaneous event collection. On March 7th this collection, and specifically the archived website of the Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism, was featured on WNYC’s program On the Media. You can hear what David E. Kaplan had to say about it here.

The purpose of Ukraine Conflict collection is twofold: to document events as they happen, and to ensure the stability of information in conflict, as evidenced by Center for Investigative Journalism site. The Archive-It team started the collection on February 26th and will continue to update and add new seeds as the situation unfolds. To date the collection has 30 sites including news outlets, blogs, social media, and government websites, nominated by subject matter experts in the fields of Investigative Journalism, Russian, and Eurasian studies. You can browse through the collection here.

Celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month in the web archives


From Oxfam International: To celebrate solidarity with women worldwide, Oxfam-Solidarite and numerous other organizations took the streets today in Brussels on International Women’s Day, 2012. The banner reads: ”Dont let women pay the crisis!!”

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, and Women’s History Month, here are five public collections from Archive-It partners that contain important cultural heritage from the web encompassing women’s history, cultural contributions, advocacy, and equal rights.

Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture
Duke University

Egypt Women’s Issues, Groups, and Publications
American University in Cairo

Human Rights Documentation Initiative
University of Texas at Austin Libraries
Includes archived websites concerning gender and political rights.

Human Rights
subject: women’s rights
Columbia University Libraries
Includes archived websites related to women’s human rights organizations globally.

Contemporary Women Artists on the Web
National Museum of Women in the Arts

Podcast: The Web Archivists Are Present

MPLPLogoV2300300Jefferson Bailey of Metropolitan New York Library Council  and Joshua Ranger of AudioVisual Preservation Solutions are the hosts of our favorite podcast about archives and preservation, “More Podcast, Less Process” (Ok, maybe it’s the only podcast we listen to regularly at Archive-It).

In the most recent episode the hosts are joined by two Archive-It Partners: Alex Thurman from Columbia University Libraries and Lily Pregill from the Frick Art and Reference Library. They discuss their process in web archiving, what they are looking forward to in their web archiving programs, and more. As an additional bonus, the conversation is lighthearted and funny!

Take a listen here! It’s an excellent opportunity to dive into the brain of a couple experienced web archivists and Archive-It partners!