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Web Archives

Through its web archiving initiatives, the International and Area Studies Library collects, preserves, and facilitates access to sensitive online content that could otherwise be lost or erased. The library’s efforts are concentrated on several different collections, each with its own subject and scope. By gathering and storing web content in these collections, the library not only saves fragile information for posterity, but it enables scholars to browse and search for archived web content that has research value.


How it works

The library uses Archive-It—a service operated by the Internet Archive—to crawl, capture, and store web content. Some pages and documents are captured only once; others are captured on a recurring basis, perhaps monthly or annually. Webpages captured with Archive-It are, essentially, “snapshots” of actual web pages at certain moments in time. While textual information is preserved, along with code like HTML and CSS, archived pages often do not retain the full functionality of the original pages.

Browsing the collections

The web archive collections listed above are browsable through the Archive-It interface. In addition to text searches, you can filter the collection content based on metadata (tags, categories, etc.). Each collection has its own metadata configuration, but common filters include language, region, subject, and creator.

When you select an item to view, Archive-It may present a list of capture dates. This means that multiple “snapshots” of the webpage or document from different dates exist in the archive. Because the different captures may well display different information, viewing captures from different dates can help inform research about developments over time.

Help and contact

If you would like to suggest an addition to one of the library’s web archive collections, please let us know.

If you need assistance with our web archive collections, you can email ias@library.illinois.edu.

For general information about web archiving efforts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, please contact the Office of Digital Strategies.