NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The phrase “historical artifact,” might not conjure up the image of an online chat room from the 1990’s, a Geocities website or your Myspace page.
But interestingly enough, it all makes up a rich and nuanced history that’s made the internet what it is today.
Like the books and papers you’d find at a library, websites can also be lost forever, even if they are in the “cloud.”
That’s why the New Brunswick Free Public Library is joining dozens of libraries across the country to document the contents of the internet.
Recently, New Brunswick was made one of 28 libraries across the country awarded the Community Webs Archive grant by the Internet Archive, said New Brunswick library director Bob Belvin.
Web Archiving, Belvin explained, is the process of saving websites to ensure the information is preserved for future researchers, historians and the public.
Many organizations put their information online both because of cost effectiveness and the ease with which that material can be distributed to the public, Belvin explained.
“Many items that would have ended in the library’s vertical file and later would become treasure troves for those interested in local history now vanish from the web,” Belvin added.
Member organizations for this project will spend the next two years collecting and preserving 35 terabytes of web-based community heritage materials for long-time access, reads the website to Web Archive.
“By including web archives in their collecting activities, libraries can play an active role in preserving contemporary records of their communities and ensure that these unique materials are accessible for use as a trusted material in the future,” reads the website.
Anyone can help contribute if they know of “websites, blogs and social media posts for New Brunswick-related government, social, cultural and history groups,” which could be added to the Web Archive.
The materials being archive must have originated from an online medium, not a physical one.
Anyone with potential contributions to the Web Archive should send them to Librarian Jackie Oshman at firstname.lastname@example.org.