Coordinators: Sumitra Duncan, Andrea Puccio
How did you first hear about/join your SIG?
Sumitra: I co-founded the Web Archiving SIG in 2016 with Karl-Rainer Blumenthal, with the mission to steward the community of art librarians currently engaged with or interested in web archiving. We went through the process of formalizing the SIG following several informal web archiving meetings that we held at annual ARLIS/NA Conferences in Washington, D.C. and Fort Worth. The informal meetings demonstrated the growing interest in web archiving amongst the ARLIS/NA membership and a need to create a designated space for further exploration of the opportunities and challenges of engaging in this practice. The SIG now meets annually and members have hosted/participated in a number of web archiving conference presentations.
Andrea: I attended the SIG meeting in New Orleans after starting my current position at the Clark and gave a brief update on the 2017 Venice Biennale on the Web collection. Karl was rotating off as co-coordinator and I volunteered. The SIG has been enormously helpful in connecting me with the small but amazingly helpful and generous web archiving community within ARLIS.
How can students and new professionals get involved in your SIG? And/or are there any projects in progress that need support they can provide?
Anyone is welcome to join the Web Archiving SIG and no experience in web archiving is needed. We do not currently have any SIG projects underway, but we are open to suggestions of how the SIG could better support the work of ARLIS/NA and art web archiving initiatives that are of interest to students and new professionals. Joining the Web Archiving SIG (or any SIG) is a great way to meet colleagues with similar professional interests and it’s also a low barrier means of learning more about web archiving (especially if you aren’t gaining experience in this area by way of your graduate program or your current position).
What actions has your group taken to adapt to remote community engagement? What has worked well? What lessons have you learned?
While everything about our work and home lives has been more challenging due to the pandemic and resulting closures/cancelations, we were glad to have been able to host the Web Archiving SIG annual meeting remotely this year. We actually found that holding the meeting virtually allowed for a much greater number of participants to engage with the group (around 90 people attended virtually, versus our prior in-person meetings with attendance varying from 15-45 people due to concurrent sessions at the conference). The focus of our meeting in the spring was an update on the work of the Advancing Art Libraries and Curated Web Archives grant project from the Internet Archive and the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC), funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This initiative sought to catalyze collaboration among art libraries in the stewardship of historically valuable art-related materials published on the web and the project culminated in a National Forum event attended by 50 art and museum library professionals, several community webinars, research reports, and bi-coastal stakeholder’s meetings. More information on the project can be found here: https://archive-it.org/blog/learn-more/art-libraries/
From your perspective, what are actions that can be taken within your SIG and the broader field of art information in order to examine the lack of diversity and develop networks of support for communities of color and specifically Black information professionals?
For the last few years we have been toying with the idea of using the Conifer web archiving service (formerly Webrecorder now at https://conifer.rhizome.org/) to create a SIG web archive collection that we can use as a teaching tool for members who are new to web archiving. Unfortunately, a lack of “staff” time and funds for long-term data storage has prevented us from enacting this idea in the past and still applies. The original thought was to focus on artists or gallery websites local to the annual conference site. Our SIG members could proactively provide support to Black information professionals and communities of color who want to develop their own web archives but are lacking the hands-on experience for getting things started. Enabling these communities to build web archive collections while also controlling their own narrative would be the objective.
How can we get connected with or learn more about your SIG?
The Web Archiving SIG has a website and a Google Groups discussion list: www.artwarc.org
We note on our website that “topics of interest …include best practices for collection development, preservation, and access; software services; collaborative collecting; and the applications of web archiving as a strategy for managing ephemeral resources and institutional records.” Anyone interested in these topics as they relate to collecting and preserving born-digital ephemeral art resources is welcome to join our discussion list. We hope you’ll join the SIG as well — we meet every year in conjunction with the Annual Conference!
Sumitra Duncan leads the web archiving program at the Frick Art Reference Library. In this role, she oversees the web archiving program of the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC), which consists of the Frick Art Reference Library and the libraries and archives of the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. The 10 NYARC web archive collections comprise 8 terabytes of data and include the NYARC institutional websites, ephemeral art resources, artists’ websites, auction catalogs, catalogs raisonnés, New York City gallery and art dealer websites, and websites devoted to the scholarship for the restitution of lost and looted art.
Andrea Puccio is the Collections Management Librarian at the Clark Art Institute Library in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Among her many responsibilities she manages the library’s Venice Biennale on the Web collection, a web archiving program documenting the Venice Biennale. This collection of pavilion websites, blogs, and social media accounts now spans 4 Biennales, close to 1,000 seeds, and more than 4 terabytes of data. Her favorite part of web archiving is the metadata (once a cataloger always a cataloger).