SAA/CoSA/NAGARA 2018 recap: Session 605

Session 605 – Taming the Web: Perspectives on the Transparent Management and Appraisal of Web Archives [RIM]

Session 605 offered different organizational perspectives on the management and appraisal of web archives. The perspectives included a municipality, a university, and state and Federal government.

Local Government Perspective – Austin, TX

First up, Katherine Cranford described the types of records found on their websites – many of them permanent. She explained how stakeholders approach web archiving from different perspectives. They manage web content by connecting their document management system, OpenText eDocs, to their websites via API. This ensures documents are protected and maintained according to records schedules. They use ArchiveSocial according to their social media policy. To ensure only necessary information is in their content management system, Drupal, they use policies. She recommends using a style guide if policies don’t work. She emphasized the ongoing importance of content audit and governance.

University Perspective – Johns Hopkins University

Next, Jordon Steele explained how they use the Archive-It service to capture websites and Facebook. The web archiving labor includes:

  1. Deciding on seeds (working with IT and student center to get a list of all officially registered groups)
  2. Performing test crawls
  3. Troubleshooting issues
  4. Saving crawls
  5. Quality assurance
  6. Metadata creation (embedded in Archives Space)
  7. Preserving archival records
  8. Performing reappraisal on a regular basis
  9. Repeat (annual or semi-annually)

Jordon discussed the ethical considerations of documenting student groups. They managing the tension between their ethical obligation to document campus life and the ethical obligation to ask permission. If they decide not to ask, can they mitigate using redaction or access restrictions? Could they apply standard restrictions to the web archiving platform? They are trying to determine what they should do based on their priorities.

Jordon mentioned the following key resources in developing their program: Collecting Policy for Duke University Archives, Middlebury College Web Archives, University of Virginia Data Documentation & Metadata, and Documenting the Now.

State Perspective – State Library of North Carolina

Next, Krista Sorenson explained how the State Library works with the State Archive to manage state publications, documents, and public records. They began using Archive-It in 2005 and ArchivesSocial in 2012. They perform bi-monthly capture of state agency websites and content, including publications only available on web.

After 13 years, they reevaluated their approach. They are focusing on user experience as they know patrons may find it difficult to find what they need. They performed an audit and are reconsidering their approach to metadata and documentation. They’ve determined they have to periodically review their approach and create clear documentation to make a well-managed, transparent web presence.

State Perspective – State Archive of North Carolina

Jaime Patrick-Burns discussed hot they capture websites, blogs, and social media of official state organizations using Archive-It and ArchiveSocial. For quality control in ArchiveSocial they monitor accounts and for Archive-It, they download crawls, look at data, and check seeds to see how they appearing. Then they add rules and do test crawls of their 700 active seeds. They take top 5% and bottom 5%, review all errors, check how they appear in the Wayback Machine, and record actions taken. With this approach, they are looking at the seeds most likely to cause problems. They are rolling out a new approach to divide seed list and check a section at a time so all seeds get checked annually. Their ongoing issues include the maturation of web archives, scalability, communicating with stakeholders, and limits on the number of accounts in Archivesocial.  

Federal Perspective – National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Kyle Douglas gave an overview of the NARA guidance on managing web records. While the NARA Guidance on Managing Web Records is from 2005, it is still applicable. NARA is working on new guidance and considering various options, including pursuing Capstone-like approach to manage top-level web records.

NARA asked agencies about how they are managing website records in the 2017 Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA). In response, 55% of agencies said they are managing their websites as records and 45% said they were automatically capturing web records. 28% said they were transferring to NARA.

NARA is in the process of developing Use Cases for Website Records as part of FERMI. The use cases can be used by agencies to evaluate vendors’ ability to manage web records. Kyle also pointed to Documenting Your Public Service as a resource.


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