By Abbie Grotke, United States Library of Congress, and Birgit Nordsmark Henriksen, The Royal Library, Denmark
The IIPC is saying a fond farewell this month to Cathy Hartman from member institution University of North Texas Libraries. She is retiring from UNT at the end of December. More about her illustrious career can be found in this tribute to Cathy on the UNT website.
Since her institution joined the IIPC in 2008, Cathy has been a strong leader and participant in the activities of the consortium, serving as Chair of the IIPC Steering Committee in 2008, and more recently as co-chair in 2015, helping to lead an effort to rethink the organizational structure and focus of the organization. She’s had a particular interest in education and training opportunities for web archivists, and led an effort to form an Education Working Group to review and fund training proposals, including support for a PhD candidate. She was also one of the first members representing the unique perspectives of universities and colleges on the Steering Committee.
“In my tenure as Chair of the International Internet Preservation Consortium,” commented Paul N. Wagner from the Library and Archives Canada, “I have been privileged to have Cathy Hartman as my Vice-Chair. Cathy brought a sage and pragmatic approach to her dealings with the Consortium. Her wealth of experience coupled with her ability to develop and nourish personal relationships will be sorely missed. I will personally miss the opportunity to call her up and get a ‘dose of reality’ as we worked through the complexities of overseeing an International organization. While it may be true that ‘things are bigger in Texas,’ I can tell you that the IIPC Steering Committee table will feel a lot smaller without Cathy’s presence. So on behalf of the entire IIPC membership, I wish you all the best in this next chapter of your life.”
Before she departs, we took a few moments to ask Cathy some questions about her career in Web Archiving and her experiences in IIPC:
Q: How did you get involved in Web Archiving?
As a librarian, I specialized in government information in the 1990s and watched with interest as governments began publishing content on their websites in the mid 90s rather than printing. We also noticed that the websites just disappeared when an agency or commission closed, so I began capturing the sites before they closed and preserving them for access. We captured the first site in 1997. As we added to the collection of websites, the project became known as the CyberCemetery, where dead agency websites went for perpetual care.
Q: What is your fondest memory of an IIPC meeting?
My first IIPC meeting was in Canberra, Australia, where I immediately connected to this group of people. I discovered a group who agreed with my passion for preserving the content published on the web. Also, the representatives from around the world were all so welcoming and immediately made us feel a part of the organization. The programs, the group discussions, the ongoing work – I was totally on board. IIPC has, since that meeting, been my favorite professional organization.
Q: Which changes do you look at as the biggest changes in Web archiving over the years you have been involved?
Everything has changed since 1997. Sites then were simple, straightforward and easy to capture. Websites now are complex, multimedia, interactive. The growth and change of the web over that 18 year period is remarkable.
Q: What do you plan to do in retirement?
A little consulting, a bit of fundraising for an endowment for UNT’s digital programs, some travel, and anything else I find interesting along the way.
The authors of this post would like to add that we will miss Cathy very much at future IIPC meetings, both as a professional colleague working together to achieve IIPC goals, and personally, as a good friend. We have enjoyed our time working together and particularly her way of get things done — her calm demeanor, a heart as “big as Texas,” and her ability to always focus on the issues at hand by working collaboratively – these have all been an inspiration! While we doubt her travels will take her to our next meeting in Iceland, we all hope that our paths cross again in the near future.