About the program

Web Archiving at Columbia University

Beginning in 2008, Columbia University Libraries (CUL) expanded the scope of its collection development activities to include curated archival collections of freely available Internet resources. The development of this program, self-funded by CUL as of 2013, was originally made possible by generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Columbia's web resources collection program archives selected websites in thematic areas corresponding to existing CUL collection strengths, websites produced by affiliates of Columbia University, and websites from organizations or individuals whose papers or records are held in CUL's physical archives. Our largest thematic web collections include: Human Rights (an initiative of the Center for Human Rights Research and Documentation); New York City Places and Spaces (guided by the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library); and the Burke Library's New York City Religions collection. Our University Archives collection consists of institutional web archiving of the columbia.edu domain and other Columbia-affiliated websites.

Columbia University Libraries' commitment to integrating web archiving into ongoing collection development and preservation best practice has consistently been informed by collaboration with other research libraries and the broader web archiving community. In 2012 CUL became a member of the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) and since 2015 has actively participated in the IIPC's collaborative collections initiative building joint web collections on topics of transnational interest such as Intergovernmental Organizations, and the COVID-19 pandemic. During an earlier grant project devoted to fostering web archiving collaboration, Columbia University Libraries piloted collaborative web collection development with other members of the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation (IPLC) that has since 2017 evolved into an active collaborative web collecting program jointly funded by the thirteen IPLC member libraries and employing staff who are administratively based at Columbia.

Columbia University Libraries' efforts to build and sustain the wider web archiving community have also included hosting events. Significant examples include the "Web Archiving Policies and Practices in the U.S." meeting (May 10-12, 2012), the larger "Web Archiving Collaboration : New Tools and Models" conference (June 4-5, 2015), and the Archives Unleashed New York Datathon (March 26-27, 2020; convened virtually).

Contact Information

Alex Thurman (Head, Web Collecting)