May 25, 2022

Research Article (Preprint): “The Archives Unleashed Project: Technology, Process, and Community to Improve Scholarly Access to Web Archives”

The preprint linked to below was recently shared on arXiv.


The Archives Unleashed Project: Technology, Process, and Community to Improve Scholarly Access to Web Archives


Nick Ruest
York University

Jimmy Lin
University of Waterloo

Ian Milligan
University of Waterloo

Samantha Fritz
University of Waterloo


via arXiv


Image result for archives unleashed logo"The Archives Unleashed project aims to improve scholarly access to web archives through a multi-pronged strategy involving tool creation, process modeling, and community building – all proceeding concurrently in mutually-reinforcing efforts. As we near the end of our initially-conceived three-year project, we report on our progress and share lessons learned along the way. The main contribution articulated in this paper is a process model that decomposes scholarly inquiries into four main activities: filter, extract, aggregate, and visualize. Based on the insight that these activities can be disaggregated across time, space, and tools, it is possible to generate “derivative products”, using our Archives Unleashed Toolkit, that serve as useful starting points for scholarly inquiry. Scholars can download these products from the Archives Unleashed Cloud and manipulate them just like any other dataset, thus providing access to web archives without requiring any specialized knowledge. Over the past few years, our platform has processed over a thousand different collections from about two hundred users, totaling over 280 terabytes of web archives. 

Direct to Full Text Article (Preprint)
10 pages; PDF.

Direct to Archives Unleashed Project Website

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.