Web Archiving 101

Web archiving refers to the process of collecting and preserving web-based content in archival formats.

Why should I care about web archiving? 

If you’ve ever clicked on a link that led to a broken page, you’ve experienced the fleeting lifespan of content published to the web. There is actually a name for this: link rot

Browser with error message stating that the site is down.

Over the course of your personal and professional life, you will likely create or contribute to work that is made available online. In some cases, this will be the only documentation of a project or moment in your life, and yet, without taking action to actively archive or maintain the site, the content is at risk of becoming inaccessible within 2-3 years – sometimes even before then. 

The following questions and answers will assist with opening your web-published materials far into the future. 



Ashley Blewer, “Accessibility and Archivability.” Ashley Blewer Blog. Accessed January 30, 2023 from https://bits.ashleyblewer.com/blog/2017/09/20/accessibility-and-archivability/

Hannah Trivette, “Your Websites Life Span May Be Shorter Than You Think,” Forbes. Accessed January 26, 2023 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2021/03/01/your-websites-life-span-may-be-shorter-than-you-think/?sh=7608dbf67e85

Mike Ashenfelder, “The Average Lifespan of a Webpage,” Library of Congress The Signal (November 8, 2011). Accessed January 27, 2023 from  https://blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2011/11/the-average-lifespan-of-a-webpage/

North Carolina State University Libraries. “Web Archiving.” Accessed January 26, 2020 from https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/scrc/web-archiving

Society of American Archivists Dictionary. “Web Archives.” Accessed January 26, 2023 from https://dictionary.archivists.org/entry/web-archives.html

Stanford University Libraries. “Web Archiving.” Accessed January 27, 2023 from https://library.stanford.edu/projects/web-archiving/archivability

Sumitra Duncan, “Not in the Archive! Design Considerations for Building More Web Archive-Friendly Websites.” Metropolitan New York Library Council (October 25, 2021). Accessed January 27, 2023 from https://metro.org/events/not-archive-design-considerations-building-more-web-archive-friendly-websites