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The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > Library Staff Visits Middle-School Web Archivists

June 15, 2010 -- Staff from the Library of Congress traveled from Washington DC to the James H. Moran Middle School in Wallingford, Connecticut, to visit and interview the teacher and students who contributed content to the K-12 Web Archiving program (external link) during the autumn of 2009.

Social Studies teacher Paul Bogush and students

Web-archiving students from James Moran Middle School in Wallingford, CT, with their Social Studies teacher, Paul Bogush.

Using the ArchiveIt (external link) web harvesting tool, students selected and archived websites, which were later added to the Library of Congress's web archives collections. Social Studies teacher Paul Bogush gave the students just enough direction to help them understand ArchiveIt and the task of archiving websites. He inspired them to trust their own judgment in selecting sites and then turned them loose to see what they would come up with.

The visiting Library staff – including a video crew – interviewed Bogush and the students for a documentary about their work, to be published on later this summer.

The students were open and articulate about their experience. They told of their initial confusion about web archiving and how to work with ArchiveIt. But once they got the hang of everything, they took their responsibility as cultural representatives seriously and put a lot of thought into each website they selected to be archived.

They were required to add descriptive metadata to the archived sites. Bogush told the students to imagine visitors to Earth hundreds of years from now discovering the students' web archives and he asked them to think about how they could describe the archive -- in basic metadata -- so that the visitors could understand a URL's content before they clicked on it.

Bogush has also trained his students to use other technologies to help them learn by experience. The students regularly conduct interviews with prominent political and scientific leaders, whom the students choose and research, and post the interviews online to their Lunchtime Leaders podcast (external link). They also contribute other work to their class wiki (external link) and blog (external link).

The personal gains from the students' achievements are clear in their behavior and their pride in their work and they seem unfazed that once their work goes online it is scrutinized by the world. They especially appreciated the opportunity to contribute content of enduring historic value to the Library of Congress.