In Beth’s last post, she brought up some great questions about preserving government information on the web. I’m happy to say that the Wisconsin Historical Society has made some progress in addressing these questions. Archivists and Librarians at WHS started working together to capture and preserve state agency web sites in 2010, and since then, we have expanded our collections to include Wisconsin county government web sites and some municipal government web sites. We have also created collections related to topics like mining in Wisconsin and organic agriculture, and we have a large collection of online newsletters. You can find links to all of these collections here: Wisconsin Historical Society Web Archives
The tool we use to collect web sites is called Archive-It, a subscription web archiving service from the Internet Archive. The primary difference between the web sites that we capture and the web sites captured by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is that our captures are curated, so that we know we are getting everything we need from the sites we crawl. The captures can also be set to happen on a regular schedule. All major Wisconsin state agency web sites are captured at least annually, or more frequently depending on how much information the agencies post on their web sites and how often the sites are updated.
I hope you’ll take some time to explore our web archives, and please contact me if you want more information about our web archiving efforts: Eileen dot Snyder at Wisconsinhistory dot org.
-Eileen Snyder, Wisconsin Government Publications Librarian, Wisconsin Historical Society