What is a web archive, and what are we archiving when we “archive the web”? What shape will the archive have? When a web archivist looks at the quality of a web capture, they are seeking to capture the functionality and behavior as well as the look and feel of the original site on the day it was archived. Compared to what archivists and librarians are used to cataloging, archiving a website is a relatively abstract concept. A website has numerous moving parts; an archived site is not a static, boxed object, like the archives we are used to.
The Museum of Modern Art hosted a thoroughly modern gathering of librarians, archivists, curators, and preservationists this month. Archive-It NY--the local network of partners and friends of the web archiving software service Archive-It--met for the very first time, and its members got to know the faces and personalities behind some of the region’s most ambitious and technically challenging collecting efforts.
Over the past year, NYARC has surveyed the publishing and web archiving landscape to develop a program for collecting born-digital art research materials. An overview of this project called “Reframing Collection for a Digital Age: A Preparatory Study for Collecting and Preserving Web-Based Art Research Materials,” funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, can be found here.
The New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) directors are planning for the future. Recently, we secured an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to explore collecting born-digital (i.e., originating in a digital format) art historical materials.