Tamiment Library Web Archive: Labor and the Left
The Tamiment Library Web Archive (Labor and the Left) consists of an evolving set of individual topically based web archives, each containing a steadily growing number of periodically captured and securely archived websites created by labor or left entities (organizations and individuals). Archived copies of web sites are first made available six months after the date of capture.
NOTE: Each web archive listed below contains a description of the archive, a list of the individual websites therein; and for each website, a history/biography of the creator of the site, a chronological list of all the separate captures of the site, and technical details about each capture.
Other Left Activism Web Archive
Tamiment Library Web Archives Collecting Policy: Since its establishment over one hundred years ago, the Tamiment Library has sought to document the full range of the activity of the labor movement and left politics in the United States (and especially within New York City), as well as the social and cultural contexts in which these movements functioned, principally from the latter 19th century to the present. The Labor and Left Web Archives shares the broad scope of the Library's collecting policy, in that its conception of the labor movement extends beyond the organizational boundaries of labor unions, and its conception of the left is neither static nor sectarian, but rather evolving, and inclusive of all activity that poses profound or fundamental challenges, in whole or in part, to existing social relations and ideas.
However, the Web Archive is distinctive in that its chronological focus is on contemporary activism, including those activities and document genres particular to the web, and left activism related to the political, social and cultural aspects of the web/internet. Given the enormous size of the universe of websites representing the left in areas outside the core focus of the Library, (the labor movement, the Marxian and anarchist left, civil rights and liberties), collecting will necessarily be selective.
The first responsibility of the Library's web archive is to preserve the websites of entities with whom the Library already has a collecting relationship, e.g. the labor unions of the New York City Central Labor Council, which has designated the Library as the official repository for its member's records. We will collect most intensively in the areas that are most fully documented in the Library's other holdings, which, in addition to the labor movement, include most notably anarchism, communism, socialism, Trotskyism, left activity in the areas of civil rights and liberties (especially in relation to the defense of the rights of labor and the left).
We will also collect, more selectively, left/progressive activity in these areas: alternative mass media, news and information services and sources; the cultural sphere; feminism and women's movements; environmentalism and the green movement; gay rights; immigrant's rights and those of minorities; peace movements; and various struggles for social and economic justice (anti-globalization movement, community organizing and housing, etc.) and others, both anticipated (e.g. Prisoners Rights) and, given the importance of "web surfing" to collection development activity, collections based around unanticipated topics will emerge, such as left activism among library workers.
Web Archiving Methodology: The websites in this archive are usually captured every three months. The sites are captured using the Web Archiving Service, open source software developed by the California Digital Library, which seeks to reproduce the original websites as faithfully as possible. However, researchers must be aware that certain types of content are not currently captured: pages to which the target website refuses access to external web crawlers, and certain file types (databases, and dynamic, e.g. flash content).
During periods of special importance, such as a strike or an election, a portion of a website may be captured daily (typically, just its home page and the pages directly linked thereto, which is similar to capturing the articles in a daily newspaper that begin on its front page). Once a year, most websites are captured along with the homepages of those other websites to which the captured website is linked, to provide a broader context to the interests and activities of the entity that created the website.
The Tamiment Library Web Archives are part of a larger group of archives that document born-digital political communication, and that have been created by a number of repositories using the Web Archiving Service, open source software developed by the California Digital Library. Support for the development of this service was provided by the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program of the Library of Congress, and the University of California.
For more information about this archive project (including the sections The Web at Risk, The Value and Potential of Archives, and The Tools: The CDL Web Archiving Service), see the Web Archives Project website.
Why is website archiving Important? As the activity of, and the documents produced by the labor movement and the left have increasingly migrated to the World Wide Web, the preservation of the history of labor and the left now requires the regular, periodic capture and preservation of such websites, in order to understand how they and their creators have evolved over time. Website archiving is also important because many websites and the entities that create them are of an ephemeral nature.
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