Web Archiving Pilot Project

In 2012 the Artist Files SIG and Archive-It initiated a web archiving pilot project in an effort to capture born digital ephemera, build a collection, and examine possible workflows. Although the project is no longer active, our collections can be accessed from the Archive-It website at https://archive-it.org/collections/5037 and https://archive-it.org/collections/3538.

An overview of our project and key takeaways were published in the Spring 2016 issue of Art Documentation

Deutch, Samantha and Sally McKay. “The Future of Artist Files: Here Today Gone Tomorrow.” Art Documentation, Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America 35, no. 1 (Spring 2016).

What is web-archiving and why is web-archiving necessary?

Web-archiving is the process of capturing parts of the world-wide-web for preservation and long-term access for future researchers. In the past, ephemeral printed information was collected and gathered by libraries and archives in vertical file collections. Today, this information is placed on the internet, which is no longer a permanent format.

What is the Artist Files Archive-It Pilot Project?

The goal of this pilot-project with the Internet Archive’s Archive-It service is to develop and test the workflows, methodology, and practice of creating collections of ephemeral information related to a focused group of artists, galleries, exhibition histories, artists’ information, exhibition announcements, reproductions, and born-digital materials, which used to traditionally be gathered in print-format vertical files.

How did you make the website selections?

Members of the Special Interest Group whose expertise includes collecting and documenting vertical files made the selections based on their respective regions in the US: Mid-Atlantic; West Coast; and Northeast. Artists and institutions were selected based on range and variety of work represented. We welcome suggestions from researchers, scholars, and others interested in preserving artist related web material.

How often were the websites archived?


How do you know what the changes are?

Each month, the Wayback Machine https://archive.org/web/ allows researchers to see the monthly iteration of the saved site so researchers may monitor and view any changes that occurred.

What kind of content is archived?

The group tries to archive as much born-digital content as possible including exhibition histories, images, PDFs, and A/V materials.

How can I search for material in the archived collection?

You can browse the collection https://www.archive-it.org/collections/5037 or search by artist name, gallery, or exhibition title, etc.

What about copyright?

“The case law and legal opinions discussed below all indicate that library website archiving for the purpose of preservation and scholarship is transformative as that term is used by courts in the fair use context. “ p.1 A New Day for Website Archiving 2.0, by Jonathan Band http://www.arl.org/storage/documents/publications/band-new-day-for-archiving-2.0-23feb12.pdf

What if I don’t want my information archived in this project?

Please contact one of the Artist Files Special Interest Group co-coordinators (listed below) to have your content removed from this project.

Who do I contact for additional information?

Samantha Deutch
Assistant Director
Center for the History of Collecting, The Frick Collection, Frick Art Reference Library

Anne H. Simmons
Reference Librarian for Vertical Files and Microforms
National Gallery of Art Library