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Collaborating to Identify Government or Election-related Websites to Preserve

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The following is a guest post by Abbie Grotke, Web Archiving Team Lead.

Is a U.S. Government website or part of a site you use or know about at risk of disappearing? Is there a website related to the 2012 U.S. Elections that you think should be preserved?

Always dreamed of contributing to a collaborative web archive? Here’s your chance to get your feet wet, whether you are a government documents expert, a passionate citizen, or a digital preservationista, we could use your help.

The Internet Archive, Library of Congress, California Digital Library, University of North Texas Libraries, the U.S. Government Printing Office, and Harvard University (coincidentally all members of the International Internet Preservation Consortium) and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance are partnering to collaboratively archive websites related to two major events, under the auspices of the End of Term project.

We guest blogged about our project activities last month over on Free Government Information;  links below to more information will lead off to some of those posts.

Election 2012 Web Archive

"Three suffragists casting votes in New York City." Prints and Photographs collection, Library of Congress.

To capture this important historical record, partners are focusing on collecting in areas of particular interest at their institution and are calling upon specialists to select and prioritize the websites to be included. The Library of Congress continues to focus on collecting official campaign sites produced by presidential, congressional and gubernatorial candidates, as I described in a previous blog . So far, the Library has archived about 650 campaign sites and that list is rapidly growing as we get closer to the election.

The Harvard Kennedy School of Government Library & Knowledge Services is focusing on websites that are produced by non-profit organizations, academic institutions, fact checking organizations and some individuals, including blogs. Help is needed to identifying non-candidate sites for this project, such as those covering advocacy, analysis, election events, commentary and opinion, fact-checking and influence-checking, news coverage, political party, public opinion, etc.

For more about the collaborative Election archive, see our recent post on Free Government Information.

If you are interested in nominating a site for the Election 2012 archive (other than campaign websites, which we are tackling here at LC), a simple nomination form is available. We’ll be archiving weekly through and just beyond the election in November.

End of Term U.S. Government Web Archive

At the end of August or early September, we’ll begin archiving sites for our 2012-2013 End of Term Archive. Partners will conduct a comprehensive harvest of the U.S. federal government domains (.gov, .mil, .org, etc.) during the fall of 2012 and into 2013, with the goal of documenting changes in sites during a period of government transition. The archive will include websites in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.

"Our beautiful Capitol building from the Congressional Library, Washington, D.C." Prints and Photographs collection, Library of Congress.

You might wonder why we need help – can’t we just crawl all government sites and be done with it? Well, it’s actually quite a challenge to identify and select U.S. government content . We work from some known lists of U.S. government URLs but, based on experience with our last End of Term crawl, those lists are not comprehensive. While we plan to archive all .gov URLs we are aware of, anything nominated by volunteers will become “priority” URLs that get a bit more attention during the archiving progress.

To nominate a site for the End of Term Web Archive, use this form. We’ve described our timeframe and some of the areas we particularly need help with over on Free Government Information.

Learn More

We invite you to contact us for more information by email ([email protected]) or via Twitter @eotarchive, or to suggest websites for archiving in the comments of this post!  Also, see this recent blog post about a current panel initiative for SXSW.

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