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Websites, blog posts, social media, online news — all of these are part of your community's history, but all are ephemeral in nature. Now, the Internet Archive, an expert in preserving online content, is beginning a program to train librarians in web archiving. This program is offered in partnership with WebJunction and with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
A competitive application process for selection of libraries from across the United States is now open and will continue until August 25.
The IMLS recently awarded the Internet Archive's Archive-It service a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant from its Continuing Education in Curating Collections program for the project Community Webs: Empowering Public Librarians to Create Community History Web Archives.
The Community Webs project is working with partners from Queens Public Library, Cleveland Public Library, and San Francisco Public Library. It's also partnering with OCLC's WebJunction, which offers education and training to public libraries nationwide.
The Community Webs project will provide training, cohort support, and services for a group of librarians at 15 different public libraries. This support will help librarians develop expertise in creating collections of historically valuable web materials that document their local communities.
The project will create more than 30 TB of community history web archives and a suite of open educational resources, from guides to videos. These resources are for use by any librarian, archivist, or heritage professional working to preserve collections of local history comprised of online materials.
Applications from public libraries will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. Pacific time on Friday, August 25! You can also visit the program's web page for more information, and the project's grant materials are available through the IMLS award page.
On August 10, TechSoup also hosted a webinar to help library staff learn more about the program.
Curating web archives that document the lives of their patrons offers public librarians a unique opportunity to position themselves as the natural stewards of web-published local history. It also solidifies their role as information custodians and community anchors in the era of the web.
We owe a debt of thanks to IMLS for supporting innovative tools and training for librarians. We look forward to working with our public library friends and colleagues to advance web archiving within their profession and for the benefit of their local communities.
Maria Praetzellis is the program manager for web archiving at the Internet Archive.
Image: Nicolae Cucurudza / Shutterstock
Interesting to listen to a webinar
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