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Web Harvesting Collaborations at Library and Archives Canada Tom Smyth Manager, Digital Capacity IIPC GA 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Web Harvesting Collaborations at Library and Archives Canada Tom Smyth Manager, Digital Capacity IIPC GA 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Web Harvesting Collaborations at Library and Archives Canada Tom Smyth Manager, Digital Capacity IIPC GA 2014

2 Operating Context

3 LAC’s Legislative Context: Mandate Library and Archives of Canada Act (S.C. 2004, c. 11) Preamble WHEREAS it is necessary that (a) the documentary heritage of Canada be preserved for the benefit of present and future generations; (b) Canada be served by an institution that is a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada as a free and democratic society; (c) that institution facilitate in Canada cooperation among the communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge; and (d) that institution serve as the continuing memory of the government of Canada and its institutions;

4 Legislative Context: Authorities for Collection Multiple authorities exist within the LAC Act that empower it to collect government information: Section 10: Legal Deposit –Covers all publications that are published in Canada, including those from the GC. Section 12 & 13: Government and Ministerial Records –Covers the disposition, transfer, and right of access to government records.

5 Legislative Context: Authorities for Collection (2) Library and Archives of Canada Act OBJECTS AND POWERS Sampling from Internet Section 8. (2): “In exercising the powers referred to in paragraph (1)(a) and for the purpose of preservation, the Librarian and Archivist may take, at the times and in the manner that he or she considers appropriate, a representative sample of the documentary material of interest to Canada that is accessible to the public without restriction through the Internet or any similar medium”.

6 LAC’s Web Harvesting: Background LAC began harvesting with the Government of Canada web presence in 2005 –Hybrid library and archival methodological context –In total LAC has collected it four times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2013) LAC’s makes this harvested data openly accessible via the Government of Canada Web Archive (GCWA, 2006)Government of Canada Web Archive Thematic material collected since 2005, but not according to a disciplined (library) collection development methodology until about 2009

7 7

8 8 Government of Canada Web Archive

9 9 WebCan Crawl Management Tool Developed internally by LAC to allow acquisition staff to manage all operations: harvest definitions, seed lists, crawl management, quality assurance

10 Collection Overview LAC’s web archival collection consists of: –Four comprehensive crawls of the Canadian federal government web presence (*, some *.ca) (2005, 2006, 2007, 2013) –Decommissioned federal websites emergency-harvested between domain crawl periods ~170 major departmental websites since 2009 –Thematic collections from the open Canadian web ~15, built with increasingly complex collaborative relationships

11 Recent Collaborative Projects

12 Models of Collaboration Internal collaboration –Librarians and Archivists at LAC working together to curate seedlists and web collections –2005-2009 Interdepartmental collaboration –Librarians, Archivists, PMs, Olympics Specialists –Olympic and Paralympic Web Archive –2009- Internal, Interdepartmental, Stakeholders –Librarians, Archivists, Policy, Government Administration and Technical Specialists from Central Agencies, and Govt Docs and Data Specialists –2013-

13 Olympic and Paralympic Web Archive

14 Canadian Olympics Web Archive LAC started curating web collections to document Canadian participation in the Olympic and Paralympic games shortly after the programme launched in 2005. LAC has curated web archival collections for each of the following games: Turin, Winter 2006 Beijing, Summer 2008 Vancouver, Winter 2010 London, summer 2012 Sochi, Winter 2014

15 Library and Archives Canada Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games Activities

16 Olympics WA Key Questions Who will be consulting our web archives? Why will they consulting our web archives? How will they use the web archives? –Data and text mining, looking for specific resources, social and cultural context What sort of resources warrant entry to a web archive? How can the web archive become a robust and multidisciplinary research tool?

17 Vancouver 2010 Web Archival Project LAC entered into a partnership with the Department of Canadian Heritage to build a web archive documenting the uniquely Canadian Vancouver 2010 games. –Selected based on the statistical needs of PCH (largely tourism) –Curated from the outset to cover broad social, cultural, economic, infrastructural, academic topics for maximum data and research applicability. –Nine iterative crawl jobs took place to capture 350+ websites (many 2-3 times each), comprising ~2 TB of data.

18 18 Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games Seedlist selected by Canadian Heritage specialists, representatives from the Federal Secretariat for the Vancouver Games, and LAC librarians and archivists Olympics Studies methodologies were considered and factored in the curation of the collection (Olympics impact, infrastructure, sports medicine, sponsorship, coaching, etc.) Methodology created to assess target websites for currency, authority, perspective, frequency of content generation

19 19 Vancouver 2010 Data Set Canadian Heritage was interested in the production of a large data set that could be mined and analyzed primarily for cultural, social, and tourism information Selection methodology based in part of the target’s resource’s ability to contribute valuable information to a robust, minable dataset This methodology has informed every project since

20 20 Vancouver 2010 Data Set Web collection curated to include the following: –Aboriginal and First Nations Perspectives –Environmental impact perspectives –Economic and infrastructural development and impact in Vancouver –Public Policy and Think Tank perspectives –Pro/Con perspectives in the media on hosting an Olympics –A complete record of all the social and cultural events that ran during the games, including all the official sites reporting the day-to-day events and the results –Tourism, Sponsorship, Own the Podium campaign, Torch Relay, etc. –Subject matter of interest to Olympics and Sports Studies specialists

21 Library and Archives Canada Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games Activities


23 Political, Social, Cultural, Historical Thematic Web Collections

24 Thematic Collections Overview Federal and Provincial Elections Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry Canada’s Participation in Olympic and Paralympic Games State Funerals Transitions in Federal Organizations Decommissioned Federal Organization/Websites Visits to Canada from British Royals Change of Governors General 100 th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede Commemoration of the War of 1812

25 Thematic Collections: Context Starting in January 2013, LAC began curating major thematic collections on political, social, cultural, commemorative, and historical topics Olympics Web Archive curation and project methodology influenced the thematic projects In 2013, one project was conducted per FY quarter: –Q1: The “Idle No More” Aboriginal movement in Canada –Q2: Development of the Keystone Oil Pipeline –Q3: Canadian perspectives on the Arctic –Q4: The Lac-Megantic Rail Disaster

26 Internal Collaboration Thematic project topics originated in LAC’s Strategic Research and Policy area Each thematic project drew on the expertise of the relevant library and archival subject matter specialists to scope project parameters and develop a collaborative seedlist –Political –Historical –Social & Cultural –Economic –Specialized Media




30 Government of Canada Official Publications and Websites

31 Context The Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada’s Web Renewal Action Plan –Consolidates the GC’s Web presence from ~1,500 websites down to one, Stakeholders from the GC and the public expressed concern that valuable web resources of enduring value would be lost Key stakeholders mobilized to engage LAC and lobby for collaborative web archiving activity 31

32 Collaboration Two major stakeholders, the Universities of Alberta and Toronto, run their own harvesting programmes via Archive-It Collaborative work proceeded immediately to identify and prioritize some 3,000 government websites for harvesting by LAC Stakeholder expectations, advice, and extant seedlists directly factored in the methodology and curation of the LAC 4 th domain crawl project Began in September 2013, and is currently in QA

33 LAC’s Web Harvesting: Current Status LAC began a 4 th crawl of the Government of Canada web domain in Sept 2013: –Official Languages Act; TBS Directive on Web Accessibility –Data collection outsourced to Internet Archive’s “Archive-It” service –Data will be returned to LAC and made accessible via an upgraded GCWA

34 2013-14 GC Domain Harvest: Preliminary Results –Governor General –Prime Minister’s Office –Privy Council Office (PCO) –Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) –Finance –Canada Revenue Agency –Auditor General –Justice, the Commissioners and Ombudspersons –Parliament (PARLinfo and LEGISinfo) –Supreme Court, Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal –StatsCan –Public Safety, RCMP –DFAIT (before FATDC, including CIDA) –DND and subsidiaries –PWGSC, Service, HRSDC/ESDC –Citizenship and Immigration –Industry and its subsidiaries –Heritage –AANDC and the suite of Northern websites –EC, DFO, Climate, Weather, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency – –Canada Gazette – GC websites successfully captured as of May 17 th 2014: 760+ major departmental websites QA still ahead of us

35 Key Issues: Curation With capacity for addressing only a handful of thematic topics, which ones get selected for curation? –Which issues that count count the most, and according to whose perspective? –Selective vs. comprehensive, finite versus ongoing As more thematic projects are undertaken, sustainability and capacity issues arise –For themes that remain pertinent, conducting update crawls on in order to update the archive and maintain its currency Securing long-term buy-in and resources for the continuing support and development of the web archiving technical infrastructure –E.g., further development for WebCan How much time to put into QC? –How much QA is “good enough?”

36 Conclusion (Key Answers) We’re adopted a researcher-centric approach to the construction of thematic collections We’ve adopted a govtdocs subject-specialist approach to the collection of the federal government domain and its official publications: –LAC has web archival holdings of the Electronic Depository Services Program Checklists as of 1995: Web analytics demonstrate extensive use of the GCWA by Canadian universities, private industry, and provincial, federal, and international governments

37 37 Web Archives as Data Set LAC’s web archival holdings as: –Open Data Assembling web archives with as wide a perspective as possible, with an eye to making them Open Data? Potential for addition to the GC Open Data Portal Several requests already for the CGI-PLN LOCKSS –Big Data High potential for governmental, science, policy, financial data and textual mining; has IM applications Potential impetus for governmental innovation in information and services to the Canadian public

38 Next Steps LAC is currently defining its long term business strategy and technical requirements for a renewed Web harvesting program for FY 2014-2015 The GCWA will be updated to provide access to all of LAC’s web archival holdings (~20 TB) –Migration of legacy ARCs to ISO standard WARCs –GCWA will be migrated to a WCAG-compliant GC look and feel Construct researcher-centric discovery and search tools

39 Web Harvesting Team @ LAC Tom Smyth Manager, Digital Capacity Patricia Klambauer Lead Web Harvesting Technician Strategic Initiatives and Client Relations Division Evaluation and Acquisitions Branch Library and Archives Canada


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