Science Blogs Web Archive

This guest post is an interview with Lisa Massengale, Head of the Science Reference Section, with contributions by the Web Archive’s creator Jennifer Harbster, a Science Reference and Research Specialist for the Science, Technology and Business Division from Oct. 2001- Dec. 2015.  Along with her reference duties for the Library’s Science Reference Service, she created Everyday Mysteries  an online collection of fun and scientifically interesting questions and answers about everyday phenomena.  Jennifer is the author of the Saving Science Blogs which provides additional information about the collection.

The Science Blogs Web Archive provides resources for scholars and others conducting research on science writing, research, teaching and communication, as well as scientific discourse in the United States.

Who are you and what is your job at the Library of Congress?

I’m the Head of the Science Reference Section, which is a part of the Science, Technology and Business Division.  My job allows me the ability to provide reference and research support for the Library’s STEM collections. My colleagues have been acknowledged by researchers all over the world. Each one of them has a subject expertise and my primary responsibility is seeing that they have the time and resources in order to provide superior service.

What is the Science Blogs Web Archive?

The Science Blogs Web Archive captures science research, writing, teaching and communication, as well as scientific discourse in the United States. The project targets science blogs that produce original thought and observations in all major scientific disciplines (earth sciences, physical sciences, and life sciences) for all audience levels. The archive also captures non-active science blogs which might be in danger of being lost.

How did the archive come about?

After the Science at Risk (July 2012) conference, Jennifer Harbster was provoked  to think about what libraries and institutions ought to do to ensure digital objects created by 21st century scientists were preserved and collected. In response to these questions she submitted a proposal to the Library’s Web Archiving Group to collect and preserve science blogs.

How were the sites selected?

The main goal of the Science Blogs Collection is to capture a representative sample of science research, writing, teaching and communication, as well as scientific discourse in the United States.  Science blogs enhance the Library’s analog collection of science periodicals and manuscripts by providing science content that reflects observations and understanding of science in the 21st century that is solely published and available in digital format.

What do you think are some of the highlights of this collection?

Highlight of the collection include posts which describe the life and work of women in STEM, as well as issues related to diversity in science such as Scientiae, which has been inactive since 2011 and retired in 2017 and Women in Planetary Science, an active blog which supports and features the work of women in planetary science.

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