Announcing publication of NDSA’s 2017 Web Archiving Survey Report

The National Digital Stewardship Alliance is pleased to announce the release of the 2017 Web Archiving Survey Report.

From October 2 to November 20, 2017, a working group of volunteers representing five NDSA member institutions and interest groups conducted a survey of organizations in the United States actively involved in, or planning to start, programs to archive content from the Web. This effort builds upon and extends a broader effort begun in three earlier surveys, which the working group has conducted since 2011.

The goal of these surveys is to better understand the landscape of Web archiving activities in the United States by investigating the organizations involved; the history and scope of their Web archiving programs; the types of Web content being preserved; the tools and services being used; access and discovery services being offered; and overall policies related to Web archiving programs.

A few major takeaways from the report include:

  • Public libraries participating in the survey increased to 13% (15 of 119) of respondents from less than 3% of respondents in each of the previous surveys.
  • A growing comfort for archiving without permission or notification. Seventy percent (71 of 101) of institutions in 2017 did not seek permission or attempt to notify the content owner. Also, 91% (106 of 117) of respondents reported never receiving a takedown or stop crawling request.
  • A notable 51% (23 of 45) of organizations reported using Webrecorder, which was publicly launched in 2016 as a browser-based tool to allow for the capture of content difficult to capture via traditional link-based crawling.
  • Archive-It continued to be the preferred external service for harvesting Web content, with 94% (97 of 103) of respondents using this service. While the vast majority of respondents are utilizing Archive-It, few (20 of 108) organizations reported downloading their WARCs for local preservation or access, continuing a trend denoted in previous surveys.

Diversification of the field, maturation of programs, and technological developments presented areas of progress for the profession, while access to archived content and institutional support for program expansion remained relatively unchanged from prior survey years.

NDSA Web Archiving Survey Working Group


Interested in activities like this, or in joining with other organizations committed to the long-term preservation of digital information? Get involved with NDSA yourself at: http://ndsa.org/get-involved/