Library of Congress

Digital Preservation

The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > Preserving Government Web Sites at the End-of-Term

Example Web site from 2002, archived in the Library of Congress Web Archives.

September 3, 2008 -- When a new president takes office new policy directions often replace old ones and government agencies must quickly switch gears to serve the public in new ways. Government Web sites often change dramatically in the first crucial weeks of a transition. The Library of Congress and several key partners will preserve public United States Government Web sites at the end of the current presidential administration. "Digital government information is considered at-risk, with an estimated life span of 44 days for a Web site. This collection will provide an historical record of value to the American people," said Director of Program Management Martha Anderson of the Library of Congress’ National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). The Internet is one of the primary ways the United States Government interacts with the public. The intent of this project is to save at-risk resources for future historians and scholars, in addition to building on existing election and government Web site collections.

The Internet Archive will undertake a comprehensive crawl of the .gov domain. The Library of Congress has been preserving congressional Web sites on a monthly basis since December 2003 and will focus on development of this collection for the project. The University of North Texas and the California Digital Library, who are also involved with the NDIIPP Web-At-Risk initiative, will focus on in-depth crawls of specific government agencies. The project will also call upon government information specialists -- including librarians, political and social science researchers, and academics -- to assist in the selection and prioritization of web sites to be included in the collection, as well as identifying the frequency and depth of the act of collecting. The Government Printing Office will lend expertise to the curation process along with libraries in its Federal Depository Library Program.

For more information about the End-of-Term Web site preservation project, see the original press release. More information about the Library’s Web Capture program is available at