by the Community Programs team
Thank you to everyone who joined us last week for our Web & Digital Archiving Meetup at Internet Archive Canada’s new headquarters in Vancouver. More than 50 librarians and archivists from BC and beyond came together to discuss their web and digital archiving experiences and to brainstorm paths for the future. Speakers from seven institutions shared updates on projects currently underway, offering a glimpse of the breadth of web archiving, digital collecting, and digital preservation initiatives in motion across Canada.
Internet Archive Canada’s Executive Director, Andrea Mills, and IA Founder Brewster Kahle kicked off the event with remarks on IA Canada’s vision for supporting the Canadian library and archival community. Andrea shared a brief history of IAC, a digital library built on partnerships with institutions across the country, and called upon attendees to continue to build on these relationships to expand digital cultural heritage initiatives nationally. Meanwhile, Brewster shared his vision of IA Canada as a library built by and for Canadians and expressed gratitude to the Canadian library and archival community for warmly welcoming IAC into the fold. Brewster and Andrea were followed by IA’s Director of Archiving & Data Services, Jefferson Bailey, who provided updates on new projects and services currently underway at IA, including Vault, ARCH, CARTA, the COVID-19 Web Archive, Internet Archive Scholar, Archive-It and more, earning spontaneous applause from the audience upon mention of Archive-It’s much anticipated new seed sharing feature.
Following these remarks, Corey Davis, Digital Preservation Librarian at the University of Victoria and co-founder of the Canadian Web Archiving Coalition (CWAC), began the afternoon’s lightning talks with an update on CWAC’s activities and mission, sharing his thoughts on the web archiving landscape in Canada. Emily Larson, Digital Collections Specialist at the UBC Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre, outlined digital projects in progress at her institution, sparking discussion on the organization’s Community Names Project. Next, UBC librarians Susan Paterson and Larissa Ringham described their organization’s rich COVID-19 collections, while Susan took to the stage a second time to discuss the invaluable work of the Government Information Digital Preservation Network. Emily Carr archivist Kristy Waller and Internet Archive Community Programs Manager Lori Donovan shared their experiences participating in and managing the Collaborative Art Archive (CARTA), an initiative aimed at preserving web-based art materials via a collective approach to collection development and management. Rounding out the afternoon, Digital and Web Services Librarian Janice Banser described the web archiving program at Simon Fraser University, offering her perspective as a lone web archivist at her institution. Finally, Digital and Private Records Archivist Jeremy Heil outlined the challenges he faces managing digital records across multiple platforms and services at Queen’s University.
Throughout the course of the afternoon, a major theme to emerge was the significance of collaboration to the sustainability and expansion of digital collection-building and preservation efforts in Canada. Many speakers and attendees shared their day-to-day struggles building and preserving digital collections at their institutions given ever-present staffing and resource constraints and the proliferation of new technologies and digital formats. Yet, they also highlighted tools, strategies and workflows for making these processes easier and more streamlined. Above all, many emphasized the need for shared and streamlined infrastructures and continued open communication among practitioners. We hope the event contributed to this ongoing conversation.
Thank you again to everyone for attending and a special thank you to all our presenters for sharing their knowledge. For those who were not able to make it, the Archive-It team will be hosting a partner meeting in Boston on Wednesday, August 24th to coincide with the Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting. We hope to see you there. As things continue to open up, Internet Archive Canada will also be hosting more and more in-person and virtual events. Stay tuned!