IIPC Steering Committee Election 2021: nomination statements

The Steering Committee, composed of no more than fifteen Member Institutions, provides oversight of the Consortium and defines and oversees its strategy. This year five seats are up for election/re-election. In response to the call for nominations to serve on the IIPC Steering Committee for a three-year term commencing 1 January 2022, six IIPC member organisations have put themselves forward:

An election is held from 15 September to 15 October. The IIPC designated representatives from all member organisations will receive an email with instructions on how to vote. Each member will be asked to cast five votes. The representatives should ensure that they read all the nomination statements before casting their votes. The results of the vote will be announced on the Netpreserve blog and Members mailing list on 18 October. The first Steering Committee meeting will be held online.

If you have any questions, please contact the IIPC Senior Program Officer.


Nomination statements in alphabetical order:

Bibliothèque nationale de France / National Library of France

BnF-logoThe National Library of France (BnF) started its web archiving programme in the early 2000s and now holds an archive of nearly 1.5 petabyte. We develop national strategies for the growth and outreach of web archives and host several academic projects in our Data Lab. We use and share expertise about key tools for IIPC members (Heritrix 3, OpenWayback, NetarchiveSuite, webarchive-discovery) and contribute to the development of several of them. We have developed BCweb, an open source application for seeds selection and curation, also shared with other national libraries in Europe.

The BnF has been involved in IIPC since its very beginning and remains committed to the development of a strong community, not only in order to sustain these open source tools but also to share experiences and practices. We have attended, and frequently actively contributed to, general assembly meetings, workshops and hackathons, and most IIPC working groups.

The BnF chaired the consortium in 2016-2017 and currently leads the Membership Engagement Portfolio. Our participation in the Steering Committee, if continued, will be focused as ever on making web archiving a thriving community, engaging researchers in the study of web archives and further developing access strategies.

The British Library

BL-logoThe British Library is an IIPC founding member and has enjoyed active engagement with the work of the IIPC. This has included leading technical workshops and hackathons; helping to co-ordinate and lead member calls and other resources for tools development; co-chairing the Collection Development Group; hosting the Web Archive Conference in 2017; and participating in the development of training materials. In 2020, the British Library, with Dr Tim Sherratt, the National Library of Australia and National Library of New Zealand, led the IIPC Discretionary Funding project to develop Jupyter notebooks for researchers using web archives. The British Library hosted the Programme and Communications Officer for the IIPC up until the end of March this year, and has continued to work closely on strategic direction for the IIPC. If elected, the British Library would continue to work on IIPC strategy, and collaborate on the strategic plan. The British Library benefits a great deal from being part of the IIPC, and places a high value on the continued support, professional engagement, and friendships that have resulted from membership. The nomination for membership of the Steering Committee forms part of the British Library’s ongoing commitment to the international community of web archiving.

Deutsche Nationalbibliothek / German National Library

DNB-logoThe German National Library (DNB) has been doing Web archiving since 2012. The legal deposit in Germany includes web sites and all kinds of digital publications like eBooks, eJournals and eThesis. The selective Web archive includes currently about 5,000 sites with 30,000 crawls. It is planned to expand the collection to a larger scale. Crawling, quality assurance, storage and access are done together with a service provider and not with common tools like Heritrix and Wayback Machine.

Digital preservation was always an important topic for the German National Library. In many international and national projects and co-operations DNB worked on concepts and solutions in this area. Nestor, the network of expertise in long-term storage of digital resources in Germany, has its office at the DNB. The Preservation Working Group of the IIPC was co-lead for many years by the DNB.
At the IIPC steering committee the German National Library would like to advance the joint preserving of the Web.

Det Kongelige Bibliotek / Royal Library of Denmark

KBDK-logoRoyal Danish Library (in charge of the Danish national web archiving program Netarkivet) will serve the SC of IIPC with great expertise within web archiving since 2001. Netarkivet now holds a collection of more than 800Tbytes and is active in open source development of web archiving tools like NetarchiveSuite and SolrWayback. The representative from RDL will bring IIPC a lot of experience from working with web archiving for more than 20 years. RDL will bring both technical and strategic competences to the SC as well as skills within financial management and budgeting as well as project portfolio management. Royal Danish library was among the founding members of IIPC and the institution served on the SC of IIPC for a number of years and is now ready to go for another term.

Koninklijke Bibliotheek / National Library of the Netherlands

KBNL-logoAs the National Library of the Netherlands (KBNL), our work is fueled by the power of the written word. It preserves stories, essays and ideas, both printed and digital. When people come into contact with these words, whether through reading, studying or conducting research, it has an impact on their lives. With this perspective in mind we find it of vital importance to preserve web content for future generations.

We believe the IIPC is an important network organization which brings together ideas, knowledge and best practices on how to preserve the web and retain access to its information in all its diversity. In the past years, KBNL used its voice in the SC to raise awareness for sustainability of tools, (as we do by improving the Webcurator tool), point out the importance of quality assurance and co-organized the WAC 2021. Furthermore, we shared our insights and expertise on preservation in webinars and workshops. Since recently, we take part in the Partnerships & Outreach Portfolio.

We would like to continue this work and bring together more organizations, large and small across the world, to learn from each other and ensure web content remain findable, accessible and re-usable for generations to come.

The National Archives (UK)

TNA-logoThe National Archives (UK) is an extremely active web archiving practitioner and runs two open access web archive services – the UK Government Web Archive (UKGWA), which also includes an extensive social media archive, and the EU Exit Web Archive (EEWA). While our scope is limited to information produced by the government of the UK, we have nonetheless built up our collections to over 200TB.

Our team has grown in capacity over the years and we are now increasingly becoming involved in research initiatives that will be relevant to the IIPC’s strategic interests.

With over 35 years’ collective team experience in the field, through building and running one of the largest and most used open access web archives in the world, we believe that we can provide valuable experience and we are extremely keen to actively contribute to the objectives of the IIPC through membership of the Steering Committee.

 

The French coronavirus (COVID-19) web archive collection: focus on collaborative networks

BnF’s Covid-19 web archive collection has drawn considerable media attention in France, including coverage in Le Monde, 20 minutes and TV Channel France 3. The following blog post was first published in Web Corpora, BnF’s blog dedicated to web archives.


By Alexandre Faye, Digital Collection Manager, Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)
English translation by Alexandre Faye and Karine Delvert

The current global coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) poses an unprecedented challenge for the web archiving activities. The impact on society is such that the ongoing collection requires several levels of coordination and cooperation at a national and international level.

Since its spreading out of China and its later development in Europe, coronavirus outbreak has become a pervasive theme on the web. This sanitary crisis is being experienced in real time by populations simultaneously confined and largely connected, with a sense of emergency as well as underlying questioning. Archived websites, blogs, and social media should make up a coherent, significant and representative collection. They will be primary sourcesfor future research, and they are already the trace and memory of the event.

#jenesuispasunvirus

At the end of January 2020, while the Wuhan megapolis is quarantined, the first hashtags #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus and #CORONAVIRUSENFRANCE appear on Twitter. They denounce and show the stigma experienced by the Asian community in France. The Movement against racism and for friendship between peoples (Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples, MRAP) quickly published a page on its website entitled “a virus has no ethnic origin”. This is the first webpage related to coronavirus to have been selected, crawled and preserved under French legal deposit.

Group dynamics

The coronavirus collection is not conceived as a project, in the sense that it would be programmed, would have a precise calendar and would be limited to predetermined topics. It grows as a part of the both National and local news media and Ephemeral News Current Topics collections. The National and local news media collection brings together a hundred of national and local press websites, including the editorial content, such as headlines and related articles as well as Twitter accounts which are collected once a day. The News Current Topics collection, which requires both a technical and organizational approach, relies on the coordination of an internal network of digital curators from their relevant fields”. It facilitates dynamic and reactive identification of web content related to contemporary issues and important events. By documenting the evolution, spreading and overall impact of the pandemic in France, archiving policy embraces all facets of the public health crisis: medical, social, economic, political and more broadly scientific, cultural and moral aspects.

“A virus has no ethnic origin”. Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between Peoples (MRAP) website. Archive of February 21, 2020.

70 selected seed URLs were crawled in January and February, while the spread of the virus out of China seemed to be limited and under control. Since March 17, date of the French lockdown, 500 to 600 seed URLs per week are selected and assigned to a crawl frequency: several times a day for social networks, daily for national and local press sites, weekly for news sections dedicated to the coronavirus, monthly for articles and dedicated websites which are created ex nihilo. Thus the section of the economic review L’Usine nouvelle is crawled weekly, because it organizes a stream of articles. Less dynamic, the recommendation pages of the National Research and Security Institute (INRES), is assigned monthly frequency.

By mid-April 2020, more than 2,000 selections and settings were created. This reactivity is all the more necessary due to the fact that certain web pages selected in the first phase have already disappeared from the live web.

The regional dimension

The geographical approach is also at the core of the archiving dynamics. The web does not entirely do away with territorial dimensions, as shown by the research works led on this topic. One may even think that they were reinforced as France is hit by the sanitary crisis, as the crisis coincides with the campaign for the municipal elections.

The curators of partner institutions all over the French territory have spontaneously enriched the selections on the coronavirus sanitary crisis. They contributed by including local and regional contents into account. This network is a key element to the national cooperation framework. Initiated in 2004 by the BnF, it relies on a network of 26 regional libraries and archives services, which share this mission of print and web legal deposit by participating in collaborative nominations. Its contribution proved to be significant since over 50% of the nominated websites selected until 15th April refer to local/regional content.

Simplified access to teleconsultation. ARS Guyana. Archived, April 5, 2020.

As a corollary, the crawl devoted to local elections has not been suspended after the 1st poll (which took place on March 15th), although the second poll (due to take place the following weekend) had been postponed and the whole electoral process suspended due to the crisis. In particular, the Twitter and Facebook accounts of the mayors elected in the 1st poll and those of the candidates who are still in contention for the 2nd poll have continued to be collected. These archives, as statements of mayors and candidates on the web during the weeks that had preceded and followed the 1st poll of local elections, already appear to be a major source for both electoral history and coronavirus pandemic in France.

Historic abstention rate in the local elections in the Oise “cluster”. francetvinfo.fr. Capture of March 16, 2020.

International cooperation

At the international level, the BnF and also in this way the other French participating libraries contribute to the archiving project “Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak”. This initiative launched in February 2020 is supported by the IIPC Content Development Group (CDG) in association with the Internet Archive. It brings together about thirty libraries and institutions collaborating around the world on this web archive collection. At the end of May, more than 6,800 preserved websites representing 45 languages had been put online on Archive-it.org and indexed in full text.


The BnF has for many years been pursuing a policy of cooperation with the IIPC to promote preservation and use of web archives on an international scale. One of the research challenges is to facilitate comparisons of the different national webs, in particular for the global and transnational phenomena such as #MeToo and the current health crisis. A first contribution was sent at the end of February to the IIPC.  It consisted of an 80 seeds selection made during the first phase of the pandemic, just before Europe became the main active center in front of China. Some of these pages have already disappeared from the living web.

According to the IIPC’s new recommendations and considering the evolution of the pandemic in France, the next contribution to the IIPC should be a tight selection (almost 5% of the French collection) linked to high priority subtopics include: information about the spread of infection; regional or local containment efforts; medical and scientific aspects, social aspects; economic aspects; and political aspects. A third of those websites reports on medical domain. A second third provides information about French territories that are remote from Europe: French Guiana and West Indies, Reunion and Mayotte. The last part concerns citizen’s initiatives and debates during the lockdown.

For examples, the special INED’s website hosting gives information on local excess mortality, articles from Madinin’art, Montray Kreyol, Free Pawol were selected by a local curator and banlieues-sante.org is website of an NGO which acts against medical inequality and has created a YouTube channel explaining protection measures in 24 languages including sign language.

Dr François Ehlinger on EHPAD. Nicole Bertin’s Blog. Website capture from the Charente-Maritime region. Capture on April 3, 2020

What’s next?

Some of the websites nominated by the BnF and its partners tend to constitute a collective memory of the event. Until mid-April, the share of social networks represented 40% of the nominations, with a slight predominance of Twitter over Facebook. Although a large share is devoted to official accounts – namely, of institutions or associations (@AssembleeNat, @restosducoeur, @banlieuesante) or to accounts created ex nihilo (@CovidRennes, @CoronaVictimes, @InitiativeCovid), hashtags prevail in the set of selections.

The aim is to archive a representative part of individual and collective expressions by capturing tweets around the most significant hashtags: multiple variations of the terms “coronavirus” and “confinement” (#coronavacances, #ConfinementJour29), criticism of the way the crisis has been managed (#OuSontLesMasques, #OnOublieraPas), instruction dissemination and expressions of sympathy show a unique and characteristic mobilisation of citizens while following the pace of the news (#chloroquine, #Luxfer).

Daniel Bourrion, “The virus journals” on face-ecran.fr. Archived April 3, 2020.

Archives relating to the coronavirus, as they account for the outcomes of the sanitary crisis and of the lockdown in various domains, end up in overlapping the set of themes to which the BnF and its partners pay a particular attention or for which focused crawls have already been conducted or will be led. For instance, digital literature or confinement diaries, relationships between the body and public health policies, epidemiology and artificial intelligence, family life in confinement and feminism, can be mentioned.

“Next” isn’t just a matter of a unique form of promoting this special archive collection, which remains a work-in-progress. It is neither a delimited project nor an already closed. It is documentation for many kinds of research projects and also heritage for all of us.

Guide for confined parents. The French Secretariat for Equality (Le Secrétariat d’Etat chargé de l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes et de la lutte contre les discriminations). Capture of April 10.