PANDORA Australia's Web Archive

10 October 2012 / 4 comments
As I mentioned in a previous post, the National Library of Australia recently contacted me to see if I would be happy for this blog to be archived on PANDORA Australia's Web Archive. This blog is now publicly available on the PANDORA archive. It feels a little like when I had a lot of hair cut off recently and the hairdresser asked if he could keep my hair. It feels nice to have been asked - but weird that my hair will have a life of its own after I've parted with it (apparently the hairdresser wants to experiment on dying it - I had a lot chopped off, and my hair is ridiculously thick ...)


Anyway, I wanted to find out more about how PANDORA decides what online content they archive and how libraries are changing the way they preserve literary output in this increasingly digital age. This is what Chris Turner and Russell Latham from the National Library of Australia had to say ...


There is a lot of content on the web. How do you discover and select the websites and blogs that you would like to archive?
You’re right there is a lot of content on the web and our team are always on the lookout for websites, dedicated sections of websites or online documents that fall within our collections scope. As part of our duties we set aside a small amount of time – say an hour or so a week – to specifically search for websites within certain fields or categories (and of course our individual personal interests make an appearance from time to time). For example during September we focused on Literary Prize winners, top selling authors and sites related to publishers. Along with that we’re always on the lookout for online Government publications, current topical events and issues. As we’re the main collecting body for Canberra we are also responsible for collecting local content. Staff within the library suggest sites to compliment physical material that has been collected. Aside from this there is a form on the PANDORA site where anyone can make suggestions to us. We have a weekly selection meeting to decide which titles are suitable and also decide on specific topics for future scanning.


The National Library of Australia and State libraries have excellent collections of well known author's letters, notebooks and manuscript drafts. Now that we are living in an increasingly digital world, how do libraries obtain and archive these important documents?
Collections of authors notes and manuscripts will generally be taken in by our manuscripts section. These traditionally have been in paper but will increasingly be in digital format. In order to make these accessible a comprehensive program of digital preservation of this content will need to be undertaken. The web archiving section collects authors’ equivalent of ‘journals’ online in the form of blogs and other web sites. An example is the blog of author Kerryn Goldsworthy, Read, think write (http://nla.gov.au/nla.arc-125413) or Nick Earls (http://nla.gov.au/nla.arc-135886). These sites form part of the collective works of these authors and as such are important to make part of the national collection.


How do you see digital archiving changing and evolving further over the next ten years?
Since the inception of PANDORA we have seen a great amount of change already from the most basic websites taking days or weeks to archive up to today where so many websites can be very technical and flash driven and near impossible for us to replicate in a static archive. Over those years PANDAS has had a couple of upgrades and we have been able to duplicate sites to a reasonable quality in a lot of instances but there are always newer components that are beyond us technologically. Within the next year or so we will be replacing PANDAS/PANDORA with a new archival and delivery system that should be able to provide a lot more options for us and will allow us to archive on a much larger scale.


For more: PANDORA Australia's Web Archive

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