IIPC Chair Address

By Abbie Grotke, Assistant Head, Digital Content Management Section
(Web Archiving Program), Library of Congress
and the IIPC Chair 2021-2022


Hello IIPC community!

I am thrilled to be the Chair of the IIPC in 2021. I’ve been involved in this organization since the very early days, so much so that somewhere buried in my folders in my office (which I have not been in for almost a year), are meeting notes from the very first discussions that led to the IIPC being formed back in 2003. Involvement in IIPC has been incredibly rewarding personally, and for our institution and all of our team members who have had the chance to interact with the community through working groups, projects, events, and informal discussions.

This year brings changes, challenges and opportunities for our community. Particularly during a time when many of us are isolated and working from home, both documenting web content about the pandemic and living it at the same time, connections to my friends and colleagues around the world seem more important than ever.

Here are a few key things to highlight for the coming year:

A Big Year for Organisation, Governance, and Strategic Planning Change

As a result of the fine work of the Strategic Direction Group led by Hansueli Locher of Swiss National Library, the IIPC has a new Consortium Agreement for 2021-2025! This document is renewed every 4-5 years, and this time some key changes were made to strengthen our ability to manage the Consortium more efficiently and to reflect the organisational changes that have taken place since 2016. Feedback from IIPC members was used to create the new agreement, and you’ll notice a slight update of objectives, which now acknowledge the importance of collaborative collections and research. Many thanks to the Strategic Direction Group (Emmanuelle Bermès of the BnF, Steve Knight of the National Library of New Zealand, Hansueli Locher, Alex Thurman of the Columbia University Libraries, and IIPC Programme and Communications Officer) for their work on this and continued engagement.

Executive Board and the Steering Committee’s terms

The new agreement establishes a new Executive Board composed of the Chair, the Vice-Chair, the Treasurer and our new senior staff member, as well as additional members of the SC appointed as needed. While the Steering Committee is responsible for setting out the strategic direction for our organisation for the next 5 years, one of our key tasks for this year is to convert it into an Action Plan.

The new Consortium Agreement aligns the terms of the Steering Committee members and the Executive Board. What it means in practise is that the SC members’ 3-year term will start on January 1 and not June 1. We will open a call for nominations to serve on the SC during our next General Assembly but if you are interested in nominating your institution, you can contact the PCO.

For more information about the responsibilities of the new Executive Board please review section 2.5 of the new Consortium Agreement.

Administrative Host

Our ability to have and compensate our Administrative and Financial Host has been formalized in the new agreement. We are excited to collaborate more with  the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) this year through this arrangement, particularly in setting up some new staffing arrangements for us. More on this will be announced in the coming months.

Strategic Plan

One of our big tasks in 2021 will be working on the Strategic Plan. This work is led by the Strategic Direction Group, with inputs from the Steering Committee, Working Groups, and Portfolio Leads. Since this work is one of our important activities for the year, Hansueli has will joined the Executive Board to ensure close collaboration and support for the initiative.

Missing Your IIPC Colleagues? Join our Virtual Events!

A blast from the past: the IIPC General Assembly at the Library of Congress, May 2012.
From the left: Kristinn Sigurðsson (IIPC Vice-Chair, National and University Library of Iceland), Gildas Illien (BnF), and Abbie.

As anyone who has attended an IIPC event in person knows, it is one of the best parts about being a member. In my case, interacting with colleagues from around the world who have similar challenges, experiences, and new and exciting insights has been great for my own professional growth, and has only helped the Library of Congress web archiving program be more successful. While it’s sad that we cannot travel and meet in person together right now, there are opportunities to continue to connect virtually and to engage others in our institutions who may not have been able to travel to the in-person meetings. We’re already working on developing a more robust calendar of events for members (and some that will be more widely open to non-members).

As you’re aware, our big event, the General Assembly (June 14) and the Web Archiving Conference (June 15-16)  have been moved to a virtual event as a part of Web Archiving Week (virtually from Luxembourg). Many thanks to the National Library of Luxembourg for offering to host the online event!

Beyond the GA and WAC, due to the success of the well-received and well-attended webinars and calls with members in 2020, we will continue to deliver those over the course of the year. We are also working on additional training events and continuing report-outs of technical projects and member updates. Stay tuned for more soon and check our events page for updates!

Working Groups and funded projects

The IIPC continues to work collaboratively together in 2021 on a number of initiatives through our Working Groups), including our transnational collections (the Covid-19 collection continues in 2021), training materials, and activities focusing on research use of the web archives. 2021 also brings exciting funded project news, thanks to the continuation of DFP, a funding programme launched in June 2019 and led by three former IIPC Chairs: Emmanuelle Bermès, Jefferson Bailey (Internet Archive), and Mark Phillips (University of North Texas Libraries). In 2020 the Jupyter Notebooks project led by Andy Jackson of the British Library and created by Tim Sherratt was successfully completely and won the British Library Labs award. This year, we are launching Developing Bloom Filters for Web Archives’ Holdings (a collaboration between Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) & National and University Library in Zagreb), Improving the Dark and Stormy Archives Framework by Summarizing the Collections of the National Library of Australia (a collaboration between Old Dominion University, National Library of Australia and LANL), and continuing LinkGate: Core Functionality and Future Use Cases (Bibliotheca Alexandrina & National Library of New Zealand) and hoping to be able to hold the Archives Unleashed datathon led by the BnF in partnership with KBR / Royal Library of Belgium and the National Library of Luxembourg later in 2021.

We are also working with Webrecorder on the pywb transition support for members. The migration guide, with inputs from the IIPC Members, is already available and the work continues on the next stages of the project. Look for more updates on these projects through our events and blog posts throughout the year. There will also be an opportunity in 2021 for more projects to be funded, so we encourage members to start thinking about other projects that could use support and that would benefit the community.

Lastly, I want to remind you to continue to follow our activities on the IIPC website and Twitter (do tweet on #WebArchiveWednesday!). To subscribe to our mailing list, send an email to communications@iipc.simplelists.com.

I look forward to working with you all more closely this year. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns during my time as Chair.

Happy Web Archiving to you all!

Abbie Grotke

Assistant Head, Digital Content Management Section (Web Archiving Program), Library of Congress

IIPC Chair 2021-2022

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