August 5, 2009 -- Following a successful pilot program during the spring of 2008, the Library of Congress, Internet Archive (external link) and California Digital Library (external link) initiated a web archiving program that explored archiving websites from the perspective of students in elementary, middle and high schools. Two Library activities supported the pilot: the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program and the Teaching with Primary Sources program.
The K-12 Web Archiving Program (external link) gives students the opportunity to think about history by selecting sources for ongoing research use. Teens and younger students select and capture web content using Internet Archive’s Archive-It service, creating "time capsules" of what is important to them to represent their current lives.
During the 2008-09 school year, students from ten different schools in nine states participated in the program. Over 1,700 websites and 233 million URLs, or objects, were collected during the year, totaling 11.7 terabytes of data. The Internet Archive noted that 96 percent of the websites selected by students have not been archived by any other Archive-It partner, and 24 percent of the websites are not in the Internet Archive’s general archive. Examples include websites for the Iowa Farm Bureau (external link), Women’s Adventures in Science (external link), and How to Make a Sock Monkey (external link). In total, 68 web collections were created – including a Prom Guide and Historical Black College Search collection – and immediately accessible on the Archive-It website (external link).
Students and teachers alike found the program eye-opening. Student comments included "choosing the websites was really fun because it let everyone be creative and really think about what teenagers enjoy today," and "I had never thought of archiving websites, even though in this day and age we use them as much as and more than books." Teacher Emily Patterson of George Washington High School in Charleston, West Virginia said, "I think it was certainly an enriching experience. I like that it allowed them to see and examine their lives and Internet content as history in the making."
For the 2009-10 school year, the K-12 Web Archiving Program hopes to increase the number of schools participating around the country and is accepting new applications through August 14, 2009. Full details are available at http://www.loc.gov/teachers/newsevents/news/.