One of academic libraries’ most important missions is to support local and global scholarship by providing comprehensive resources, such as academic publications, government documents, or non-governmental resources. Traditionally, most of these materials were provided in print and other physical formats. Now, however, an increasing amount of information is published and spread out over the web, including ephemera like news clippings, photographs, and other artifacts. This transformation makes it hard to ensure stable, long-term access to information for scholarly research. Web Archiving Services (WAS) is an initiative to address this issue.
About the WAS initiative
WAS is an initiative of the University of California. It aims to help libraries preserve web information on a wide range of subjects and in many formats for stable, long-lasting academic use and to keep citations relevant as websites change. The archive covers many subjects, including historical events, geography, environment, engineering and more. The digital content is securely preserved in its digital preservation repository, the California Digital Library, for access and management. The archived content is open for the public to search and browse and users can freely use all content without special copyright restrictions.[i]
WAS at IAS
At present, around 60 institutions nationwide are participating in this project. The UIUC Library is the only participant in Illinois. The International and Area Studies Library partnered with WAS to create the World Sustainable Development Web Archive. The archive covers online resources on environmental sustainability from non-US Non-Governmental Organizations from all over the world [ii]. This archiving project is an effort to further develop our collection, to fulfill our library mission, and facilitate future user needs.
Our WAS archive aligns with the Library’s mission by building cross-regional primary source materials on environment sustainability for emerging research and teaching in relevant areas that IAS aims to support. The Library aims to develop rich digital collections of primary source materials of interest to area studies scholars and scholars focusing on thematic areas that rely heavily upon area studies knowledge: the environmental sustainability collection fits both demands. An example of this includes the economic development, climate change, and the transition to renewable energy research team that consists of area studies faculty with expertise in South Asia, Africa, and Latin America from geography, sociology, agricultural and consumer economics, and political science. Their collaboration represents a unique, yet growing, trend in interdisciplinary research.
We also hope this project will inspire innovation and collaboration among area studies librarians within IAS and researchers from related fields. We will work to initiate more collaborative collection building projects like this one and warmly welcome area studies and interdisciplinary researchers to use our resources.
In the first stage, we have archived 43 web sites covering Latin America, South Asia, East Asia, Middle East, Africa and East Europe. These current sites are captured on an annual basis with basic metadata to aid access. The archiving frequency and range of topics covered are subject to change in response to our better understanding of user needs. This number of sites in our collection will keep growing as we more interesting academic resources that fall into our topic are found to enrich our collection. As such, your feedback is very helpful to us.
Want to find out more? Check out the World Sustainable Development Archive.
Please contact the International and Area Studies Library with any questions about this project or any of our other services.