Monday, May 21, 2007

I'm in serious catch-up mode & WebArchivist.org

Work since the beginning of the year has been like a growing glorious snowball rolling downhill! Notice that I use the word "glorious" so that you know that this is a good snowball. However, I'm now finding that I need to do a bit of "catch-up" before heading off to the SLA Annual Conference in less than two weeks, so my posts here may be slightly less frequent. (For those of you who live where there is no snow, when a snowball rolls downhill, it gets bigger and bigger.)

Last week, I did a digitization workshop that was co-sponsored by the Central NY Library Resources Council and the South Central Regional Library Council. The two councils (consortia) are doing a series of 10 workshops on digitization. I had the pleasure of presenting the first workshop in the series. In February 2008, I'll also have the pleasure of doing the last workshop in the series on marketing. Friday's workshop had nearly 40 attendees including a Benedictine monk! I made two promises at the beginning of the day -- to keep things interesting and to teach them something new (no matter what they already knew). Brother "B" said I delivered on both promises.

At the end of the day, I spent time talking with Steve Schneider, who is involved in WebArchivist.org. Steve came to the workshop in order to hear what libraries are doing in terms of digitization. He, however, is interested archiving web sites and has worked on several projects including the Asian Tsunami, Election 2002 (and 2004), and the September 11 Web Archives. I was impressed to hear how they jumped into action on Sept 12, 2001 and began archiving web sites, realizing that what they were archiving would be of value to others later. WebArchivist is not part of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), but certainly has things in common with that program.

In general, libraries are aware that they will need to collect and archive materials that are born digital, although -- in the grand scheme of things -- relatively few are thinking seriously about how to do it. Libraries are not yet focused on archiving web site proactively and the information that they contain (which will be lost if not archived). [See addendum below] Understanding why it could be important and then do it requires a leap of faith. "I'm going to do this because I know that in the future, I'll be glad that I did." Some organizations might be able to take that leap of faith more easily than others (and those organizations may not be libraries).

At any rate, talking to Steve made for a wondering end of the week conversation and I look forward to talking with him again! (Personally, I think he should do some presentations in this region on web archiving....)

Now...time to get back to my to-do list...


Addendum (4:30 p.m.): Ms. Molly has pointed out that librarians are involved in NDIIPP. And I have to admit that I've been to presentations done by librarians who are involved in NDIIPP. However, as I look out across the library community, they are the "exception." They are attached to organizations (or forward-thinking people) who understand the problem and are willing to act. Many librarians are not "there" yet.

Thanks for pointing out my error!


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2 comments:

Ms Molly said...

UIUC and OCLC are close to releasing their NDIIPP-funded Web Archives Workbench tool for archiving web sites. State librarians around the country have been involved in the testing phase. So a lot of libraries are thinking about this stuff.

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

You're correct. I worded this wrong. I've actually been to presentations done by librarians who are working on NDIIPP. If you look at the large library community, they are the exception, not the rule. (I hope that makes sense.)