CHARGE: The OCLC Research Library Partnership Web Archiving Metadata Working Group will evaluate existing and emerging approaches to descriptive metadata for archived websites and will recommend best practices to meet user needs and to ensure discoverability and consistency.
Archived websites often are not easily discoverable via search engines or library and archives catalogs and finding aid systems, which inhibits use.
A 2015 survey of members of the OCLC Research Library Partnership revealed the lack of descriptive metadata guidelines as the biggest challenge related to website archiving among this cohort. The second most-cited challenge is to learn about the needs of users who seek to use website content in their work.
Review of existing guidelines, as well as sampling of descriptions in WorldCat and ArchiveGrid, reveals widely variable practice. This can be traced, at least in part, to the fact that some characteristics of websites are not addressed by existing descriptive rules such as RDA (Resource Description and Access) and DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard). Some record creators follow bibliographic traditions, while others use an archival approach, such as describing multiple sites in one record. Sometimes the two approaches are blended.
Addressing the Problem
The Working Group will study archival and bibliographic description practices for archived websites, consider when each approach might be most appropriately used, and determine how the two might be made compatible. We will keep in mind that metadata is sometimes repurposed for reuse in a variety of different tools and contexts. We will also consider issues related to description of archived websites in relation to live/active sites.
In the coming months, members of the Working Group will:
- Finalize the issues to be addressed.
- Perform desk research to learn about user needs and behavior relative to websites to inform our approach to defining best practices for descriptive metadata.
- Develop best practices for metadata, informed by the study of existing guidelines for describing archived websites--such as those developed by the Program on Cooperative Cataloging, the New York Art Resources Consortium, and a variety of individual institutions.
- Study the published literature and online sources to identify metadata issues identified by researchers in the field.
- Informally sample and evaluate existing descriptions of archived websites in WorldCat (MARC records), ArchiveGrid (MARC records and finding aids), Archive-It, and other sources.
- Investigate available tools for web archiving and the ways in which they enable production of descriptive metadata.
The full working group will meet monthly via WebEx. Subgroups will undertake specific tasks and report their findings to the group. We have tentatively targeted January 2017 to complete the work.
We will liaise with other groups that are active and influential in the web archiving sphere of practice. These include the Web Archiving Roundtable of the Society of American Archivists, the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC), and the Internet Archive.
We will develop best practices that bridge existing approaches to description of archived websites. These will enable practitioners to create appropriate metadata consistently and with confidence that they are following community practice. Best practices will also benefit users by increasing discoverability through consistency of metadata and by providing contextual information that meets identified needs.
A report on user needs will inform community-wide understanding of documented user needs and behaviors as evidence to underlie the best practices for metadata for archived sites.
Most recent updates: Page content: 2016-03-10
Web Archiving Metadata Working Group
Brigham Young University
Clark Art Institute
University of Delaware
Karen Stoll Farrell
Library of Congress
Pennsylvania State University
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Wyoming
Frick Art Reference Library
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
California Digital Library
National Library of Scotland
University of California, Irvine
University of Florida
Anchalee (Joy) Panigabutra-Roberts
American University in Cairo
University of Michigan
New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC)
Harvard Business School
University of California, San Diego
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Michigan