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The dual aim of the work is to promote the use of web archives to researchers and to examine where future funding might usefully be directed in order to most effectively augment the value of web archives for this diverse user community.

Researcher Engagement with Web Archives

The importance of the Internet for research, society, and the economy is unquestionable. However, content on the web and related social media is constantly in flux as it is updated, replaced, and deleted. Various efforts to archive the web or portions of it have been developed around the world. Much of this work has been done from the point of view of preservation for its own sake. Less work exists on how these preserved archives might then be used by researchers (those interested in the content for its own sake, as well as web scientists interested in the structure and dynamics of the web itself) and others to ask meaningful new questions.

These reports aim to bridge the gap between archivists and researchers, and thus to build a compelling case for promoting, supporting and using web archives as a research resource. The first, entitled “Promoting Researcher Engagement with Web Archives: State of the Art,” (Dougherty, et al., 2010) and aimed at archivists and researchers, summarizes existing work using archives and describes, using exemplar cases, the strategies developed for working with archives. The other report, sub-titled 'Challenges and Opportunities' is intended for JISC and other funding bodies along with other interested parties, aims to identify current gaps in the funding for research using web archives and the development of appropriate tools for collecting and working with web archives. This analysis highlights opportunities where funding may help to remove barriers to progress by increasing the quality of tools and methods for researchers to exploit web archive resources.

Final reports are available below:


Project Staff

Dr. Eric T. Meyer, Project Director
Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
1 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 287210
Funding programme
Digital preservation & records management programme
Project website
Lead institutions

Oxford Internet Institute