Beginning with a pilot program in 2008, the K-12 Web Archiving Program has engaged hundreds of middle and high school students from schools around the United States in selecting, describing, and preserving Web content. Through September 17, the program is accepting applications for new and returning partners from middle and high schools.
Participating in saving history and culture offers those students a unique perspective on how history is recorded. Students identify websites to be archived, sort them into collections, and write metadata to describe the sites and provide context to help future scholars understand the importance of the archived sites.
While schools organize participation in many ways – for example, through the library, as part of a class, or as an extra-curricular club – the teachers and school librarians who facilitate the programs reliably find that students develop critical thinking skills, learn to work collaboratively, and deepen their understanding of historical thinking strategies, including reading primary sources in context, and recognizing inherent perspective and bias.
At the end of the program year, students consistently report an increased awareness and understanding of how the websites they select and preserve will be primary sources for future historians. Many students commented that they were surprised to learn how quickly websites can change or disappear; others enjoyed the freedom to make selections; still others noted both the challenges and the value of being allowed to select what to archive.
Read additional responses from students and teachers who participated in the program:
- K12 Web Archivists Capture History in the Making,
- The K-12 Web Archiving Program: Preserving the Web from a Youthful Point of View, and
- K12 Archivists Make History.