Have you ever been in a situation where you’re looking for information on the internet, find a super useful and interesting website that seems to contain a lot of relevant information, and then when you click… you get an error page! This may be because that website no longer exists or because that page was removed.
Online content can be very ephemeral, and information can be easily lost. Because of this, there is an initiative called the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving websites and web pages from all over the world with the goal of providing access to those pages for future generations.
The Internet Archive initiative began in 1996 and was created when people realized that there was a lot of content on the web, freely available, but no one was taking steps to preserve it and ensure future access to it. It is common for digital content to simply disappear or change over time.
The Internet Archive contains two main services:
- Archive-it: a web archiving service that helps organizations harvest, build and preserve collections of digital content
- Wayback Machine: where users can access digital collections
Due to the growing importance of web archiving, several organizations from all over the world have begun archiving their own web content and other sites they deem important. In the context of universities, much of this work is being done by libraries. UBC has its own web archiving program, which is currently being run out of the Digitization Centre.
UBC Web Archiving Initiative
The UBC Web Archiving Initiative was created in 2013, with the purpose of ensuring the preservation and access of web content that contributes to the fulfillment of the institution’s mission. The content should fulfill at least one of the following criteria:
- Be of interest to the University
- Contribute to research, learning and teaching
- Be associated with UBC’s corporate memory
Thus, the following types of websites are considered within the scope of our collection:
- Research, public or governmental interest
- Historical or geographically local significance
- Complementary to relevant existing collections
- Content produced by the University or affiliated organizations
Currently, UBC has nine collections in their web archive:
- 2015 Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite
- C. Hydro’s Site C Project
- C. Wildfires 2017
- Federal government websites
- First Nations and Indigenous Communities websites
- UBC Asian Library Historical websites
- UBC Community and Partners
- UBC Conferences and Events
- University of British Columbia Web Archives
If you have suggestions for web content that should be archived, feel free to fill out the form! If you want to learn more about web archiving, check out About the Internet Archive (Internet Archive) and Web-archiving (DPC Technology).