Archives in the news: preservation of the BBC website

While browsing the Metro in the staffroom this lunchtime I was interested to see this article on how a member of the public took it upon himself to harvest parts of the BBC website that were about to be sent to the digital dustbin.

Now, it’s great that he has done this, good on him. But for me there’s a more pressing issue. The web is increasingly our way of communicating and conducting transactions. From being able to pay all your bills online, to mass demonstrations being organised through Facebook and Twitter. But in general, we are not capturing this for posterity. It seems sad that potentially we will lose much evidence of how this wonderfully complex media that has changed the way people communicate and work. And for those who are studying; anyone who has ever bookmarked a URL for an interesting article relevant to an assignment will recall how annoying it is to return to it to find the webpage has vanished overnight.

The following projects are working to harvest parts of the web

There are some helpful reviews on the Practical E-Records blog on available harvesting software, free and paid for.

And if you’re studying and have had problems with urls disappearing in the blink of an eye, perhaps try a free tool like Diigo where you can create your own collection of preserved webpages to return to.

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