Web Archiving: Why is it Significant?

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The Internet is constantly evolving and improving, and while this is primarily a good thing, there’s also a drawback to its vulnerability to speedy changes. For instance, unlike written records or print media, it doesn’t have a lasting legacy. The content loss also happens at an alarming rate, leading to numerous threats for organizations and Internet users worldwide.

To resolve this, many non-profit organizations, cultural heritage departments, educational institutions, and even private companies turn to web archiving. Below, we’ll discuss what web archiving and internet web archive websites are and their importance. Moreover, we’ll tackle three types of web archiving technical solutions.

Web Archiving

Web archiving employs different systems and tools to effectively save web pages. Hence, even when they become obsolete or dead, they can still be presented to a viewing audience or accessed by web users. Moreover, it helps keep the digital culture alive and maintains landmarks of old technology so they can be utilized by future generations for research purposes and historical analyses.

Why is Web Archiving Significant?

Optimal web exploration experience

Other methods of saving web pages, such as conversion to PDFs may be handy and adequate for documentation purposes. However, PDF format is static and cannot provide the same viewing experience of page interaction, such as hovering, scrolling, or clicking on links. On the other hand, a web archive is a complete record of a page’s entire content, including its JavaScript source, stylesheets, source HTML, and even embedded images. Therefore, upon playback, public users can interact more comprehensively with the archived page.

Litigation protection and organizational accountability

Web archives can serve as evidence in court cases. In fact, according to Michele Wegle of the Social Science Research Council, they have been used to hold plenty of governments and political figures liable and accountable for statements they made in the past. In addition, unlike saved screenshots, they aren’t as susceptible to manipulation. Screenshots may be suitable for people who need reminders, but they often aren’t acceptable or sufficient as legal evidence because they can easily be tampered or edited.

Protection of corporate digital assets

As stated, various types of organizations and private businesses are in need of web archiving to keep their digital resources available and accessible. Moreover, it handles recordkeeping and helps with maintaining an enterprise’s integrity and authenticity in terms of data management and web publishing.

Social science research and posterity

Since 1996, multiple public archives, including the Internet Archive, have worked with recording substantial portions of the World Wide Web. Thus, many scholars of social science have benefitted from the extensive availability of resources. There are also impressive amounts of historical information about the Internet and its evolution, as well as milestones in improving real-time communication and recent cultures of web users.

Technical Solutions

web archiving

If you’re interested in availing web archiving services for your organization, here are three main ways to acquire them, according to the Digital Preservation Handbook by the Digital Preservation Coalition.

  • Integrated systems. Integrated systems can be utilized by companies that have a skilled technical staff team which can deal with installing, maintaining, and administering an in-house web-archiving system.

  • Commercial services. Commercial web archiving services from a third-party provider are the best option for companies who prefer not to or lack the resources to handle their own web-archiving infrastructure. They may shift to cloud computing or use a SaaS (Software as a Service) provider.

  • Private businesses. Some private companies also offer tailored web archiving services that fit its client’s unique business needs, as well as its requirements for regulatory compliance and managing of records.

Internet archive websites are indeed beneficial. To know what type of solution is suitable for your organization, it’s important to do in-depth research or ask an expert’s advice.

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