Community Webs joins the Digital Public Library of America

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Internet Archive’s Community Webs program is delighted to announce a partnership with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) to ingest metadata from the over 700 publicly available Community Webs web archive collections into DPLA. These collections include thousands of archived websites and millions of individual web-published resources that document local history and underrepresented groups. The Internet Archive has been a DPLA content provider since 2015, primarily contributing content from our many print digitizing partnerships. Community Webs will also join DPLA as a member and we are excited for this opportunity to add hyperlocal born-digital and web collections from public libraries nationwide into DPLA’s national portal to cultural heritage collections.

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The Community Webs program was launched in 2017 to provide training, infrastructure, services, and professional community cultivation for public librarians across the country for the purpose of documenting local history and community archiving, especially documenting communities and populaces traditionally excluded from the historical record. The program is in the midst of nationwide expansion and currently includes more than 100 member public libraries who are collaborating with local organizations, movements, and groups to document the lives and accomplishments of their citizens. The program continues to add new public libraries and cultural heritage organizations to support and scale their community archiving and has an open call for applications in the US, Canada, and internationally for additional public libraries and local heritage organizations to join the program. Examples of Community Webs collections include:

  • Community Webs members have created more than 30 collections documenting local responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, including COVID-19 Coronavirus East Baton Rouge Parish from East Baton Rouge Parish Library and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s “Novel Coronavirus COVID-19” collection which focuses on “the African diasporan experiences of COVID-19 including racial disparities in health outcomes and access, the impact on Black-owned businesses, and cultural production.” 
  • Community Webs members have created a number of collections documenting LGBTQ groups, events and other resources, including LGBTQIA/Hormel Resources from San Francisco Public Library and Birmingham Public Library’s “LGBTQ in Alabama” collection.
  • Members are also actively archiving materials on their local or regional culture, such as Kansas City Public Library’s Arts & Culture collection, which “documents Kansas City’s thriving arts community, including galleries, museums, nonprofits, advocacy organizations, criticism and art spaces.”
  • Many members have focused on documenting local social services or advocacy groups, such as Madison Public Library’s Racial Equity and Social Justice, Madison, WI collection of “organizations and non-profits that engage in public discourse on issues of racial equity and social justice.”

Working with a mission-aligned organization like DPLA and our shared values of collaboration, open access, and community empowerment made it an obvious fit for Community Webs member collections to also be available in DPLA. Some public libraries who are a part of the Community Webs program are also members of local or statewide DPLA content hubs, and already have digitized content available in DPLA.The partnership between DPLA and Community Webs will ensure that archived web and born-digital collections are accessible alongside similar digitized materials for seamless discovery and access for uses. Pairing Community Webs’ free archiving, infrastructure, education, and other services with DPLA’s aggregation tools, hubs networks, and its advocacy role will help expand national access and capacity for making primary sources, and a more diverse archival record, accessible to any online user,

“DPLA’s new partnership with the Community Webs program will help further our mission to provide free digital access to cultural heritage artifacts that inform a truly representative history of our nation, “ said Shaneé Yvette Murrain, director of community engagement for DPLA. “We are thrilled to be deepening our work with Internet Archive through a program so perfectly aligned with our organizations’ shared values.”

“Pairing the community web archives of 100+ public libraries and the cohort cultivation that are part of Community Webs with the national scope and professional networks native to DPLA is a perfect match. We are excited to expand access to these amazing grassroots digital collections,” said Jefferson Bailey, Director of Web Archiving & Data Services at Internet Archive.

We are excited to be partnering with DPLA to increase access to these vital community history collections and look forward to building more integrations and furthering this collaboration in the years to come.

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