May 23, 2022

Final Report: Harvard Library’s Environmental Scan of Web Archiving

From the Harvard Library:

Web Archiving Environmental Scan Front Cover_300w_borderManaging born-digital material, including content that originated on the web, has been one of Harvard Library’s strategic priorities for FY15 and 16. As a result, the Web Archive Working Group has been gathering information to inform recommendations for a web archiving strategy for Harvard Library. One of the information-gathering activities the working group engaged in over the last year was an environmental scan of the current issues and trends in web archiving nationally and internationally. Two members of the group, Andrea Goethals and Abigail Bordeaux, worked closely with a consultant, Gail Truman of Truman Technologies, to conduct the five-month study and write the report.

The study began in August 2015 and was made possible by the generous support of the Arcadia Fund.

The purpose of the environmental scan was to explore and document current web archiving programs (and institutions desiring a similar capacity) to identify common concerns, needs, and expectations in the collection and provision of web archives to users; the provision and maintenance of web archiving infrastructure and services; and the use of web archives by researchers. The ultimate goal of the survey was to identify opportunities for future collaborative exploration. Information provided by this scan will help Harvard Library form its web archiving strategy, but will also be shared internationally to inform research and development priorities.

The research methods included interviews with web archiving practitioners, researchers and service providers; independent research; and participation in relevant working groups and conferences. Profiles were developed for 23 institutions worldwide that are active in web archiving. Information was gathered about current practices with particular attention given to opportunities for collaborative efforts to address the main challenges and gaps.

Read the Complete Announcement

Direct to Full Text of Web Archiving Environmental Scan (86 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.