One-stop collection and analysis with Archive-It and the Archives Unleashed Project
This is an excerpt of an article originally published on the School of Computer Science website.
Suppose you’re an archivist, librarian, or historian who’s trying to document and preserve for posterity a narrative of the COVID-19 pandemic or the ongoing Black Lives Matters protests. You’ll naturally be gathering documents from the web, and with tools available today, it won’t be difficult to accumulate thousands or even millions of relevant records. How can you make sure that a scholar down the road can actually use the material that you’ve collected?
Right now, working with data at scale is difficult for historians and other scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Since 2017, the Archives Unleashed Project has been at the forefront of making this possible, through accessible tools, platforms, and learning materials. This next project will combine the Archives Unleashed Project’s analytical tools with the Internet Archive’s Archive-It service, a best-in-class web archiving and access solution and infrastructure, to further lower barriers in web archiving and provide an end-to-end process for collecting and studying archived web records and data.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $1,084,087 CAD grant to the University of Waterloo to support the “Integrating Archives Unleashed Cloud with Archive-It” project. Led by Professor Ian Milligan, from the University of Waterloo’s Department of History, alongside co-investigators Jimmy Lin, Professor and Cheriton Chair at Waterloo’s Cheriton School of Computer Science, Nick Ruest, Digital Assets Librarian in the Digital Scholarship Infrastructure department of York University Libraries, and Jefferson Bailey, Director of Web Archiving & Data Services at the Internet Archive, this project represents the next stage of the Archives Unleashed Project. With this funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project hopes to bridge the current gulf between web archiving collection, access, and data-driven analysis.
Web archiving is the process of collecting portions of the World Wide Web to ensure the information is preserved in an archive for future researchers, historians, and the public. It’s critical to preserve webpages: we have all encountered “404 Not Found” errors as we browse the web, reminders that information is continually lost, gone missing, or is deleted. Think of how many people have experienced the world during the social distancing of COVID-19: our news, social interactions, learning, working, and beyond. “Data is rapidly becoming the building blocks of our histories,” Milligan explains. As future historians try to piece together our current moment, from exploring misinformation to privacy concerns to social media phenomena, they will need tools and platforms to make sense of all this information.
Such a project is only possible through interdisciplinary collaboration. Partnering with librarians and archivists such as Bailey and Ruest is essential both to be able to apply cutting-edge approaches to the ethically-informed extraction and arrangement of web archival data, but also for the creation of documentation and learning guides to ensure people can use these materials. Combined with Lin’s information retrieval background, and Milligan’s subject-matter expertise of a historian, the interdisciplinary team is confident that future users will be able to make sense of the web archive data their tools generate.
This project represents a follow-up to an effort that began in 2017 with the same name, also funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to develop web archive search and data analysis tools. Armed with these powerful tools, researchers, scholars and archivists now have the ability to access, share and investigate our online history since the early days of the World Wide Web, including many culturally significant events that are interwoven into the basic fabric of our collective consciousness such as 9/11.
The success of Archives Unleashed has resulted in The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funding a new three-year phase of the project. This new effort will combine the services that Archives Unleashed has developed with those of the Internet Archive’s Archive-It and Archive-It Research Services programs. Archive-It is a web archiving and digital preservation service used by over 700 institutions around the world. Users, from universities and cultural organizations to governments and NGOs, have used the service to preserve tens of billions of web records and many petabytes of data. “Researchers, from both the sciences and the humanities, are finally starting to realize the massive trove of archived web materials that can support a wide variety of computational research,” said Bailey. “We are excited to scale up our collaboration with Archives Unleashed to make the petabytes of web and data archives collected by Archive-It partners and others more useful for scholarly analysis.”
Library launches Indigenous peoples in Canada reading list
This article was originally published on the Library's website.
The University of Waterloo Library has created an Indigenous peoples in Canada reading list to contextualize recent events and help situate them within the landscape of Canada's colonial history.
These events, to name only a few, have included the on-going resistance of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation against the Coastal GasLink Pipeline, increased pressure to change the racist names of professional sports teams, the vandalization of a Sir John A. MacDonald statue in Baden, the occupation of Victoria Park by local Indigenous community members, and the 30th anniversary of the Kanesatake (Mohawk) Resistance.
Scope of the list
Much like the titles included in the Library's Black Lives Matter — Canadian reading list, the Indigenous peoples in Canada reading list has been compiled to expand and build on current understandings of the experiences of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada. Drawing on titles available through the library catalogue, the list includes scholarly research; guides to working with Indigenous peoples; biographies, memoirs and fictional accounts of lived experiences during and after the end of the residential school system; as well as links to web versions of the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and Reclaiming power and place the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Library staff at Waterloo recognize that in providing improved access to equity focused educational resources we too have a responsibility to educate ourselves by reading, listening and working to meaningfully enact systematic change. We know we can't do this work alone and welcome your input. You can help library staff identify new titles to the Indigenous peoples reading list by using the Library's Purchase request form and selecting Indigenous voices from the Subject focus pull-down menu.
The Library remains closed as part of the University of Waterloo's response to the global pandemic. While the closure limits access to hard copies of the highlighted titles, several electronic books are included on the list and can be accessed online. Faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students can also make use of Print Pickup @ Porter for research purposes.
Interested readers are encouraged to order copies of these titles from local public libraries offering curbside services, like the Waterloo Public Library's Curbside Pickup Service and the Kitchener Public Library's Curb and Carry, or from a local independent bookstore as an alternative means of access.
- How can I learn more about Indigenous cultures and Reconciliation?
- Indigenization at Waterloo
- Indigenous Initiatives
- Indigenous Student Association
- Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre
Camelia Nunez to connect Waterloo Math researchers with external partners
Camelia Nunez will further the innovation agenda in the Faculty of Mathematics by supporting entrepreneurial activities and facilitating meaningful collaborations between researchers and external partners, when she assumes the role of Director of Innovation and Research Partnerships on August 4.
Nunez will promote the faculty’s mathematical innovation and entrepreneurship growth by raising the research profile, initiating and developing industry relationships, and ensuring more research funding.
“I am uber excited with a healthy dose of nervousness,” Nunez said. “I look forward to getting to know the faculty members, staff and students and taking a deeper dive into learning more about the research taking place in the faculty.”
Nunez will report to Jesse Hoey, associate dean innovation and entrepreneurship, and he is looking forward to the impact she will have on the Faculty.
“I’m delighted that Camelia will be joining us to help support the amazing entrepreneurial and innovative strengths in the Faculty of Math,” said Hoey. “Camelia brings with her a highly relevant skill-set in research, entrepreneurship, social innovation, and a clear vision of working with Faculty and students to open up new opportunities that will be a driving force behind research in math at Waterloo.”
Nunez has worked at Waterloo for over a decade, starting out as a casual lecturer in 2006. She comes to the Faculty from the position of Director of Concept, Velocity’s student entrepreneurship program, having also held the roles of Associate Director at Velocity, Corporate Research Partnerships Manager in the Office of Research and Business Development Specialist with Mitacs. Nunez is also an alumna having completed her Hon BA at UWaterloo and then her Masters of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, during which she launched an EdTech company, which she led as its CEO for more than two years.
In addition to being familiar with the University of Waterloo and the postsecondary landscape, Nunez has, over the years, developed a strong network outside of the academic world, which includes start-ups, not for profits, large and small to medium-size businesses, as well as government organizations.
“I have experienced highly successful collaborations between academics and external partners and also less positive ones,” Nunez shared. “I have led conversations in both scenarios, and I learned a lot from each. I look forward to bringing my experience and knowledge to this role and help build a leading innovation and research partnership strategy for the Faculty of Math.”
Within the next five years, Nunez aims to develop an efficient mechanism through which researchers and students in the Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics can excitedly engage in knowledge and technology exchange with industry and other external partners.
“It is important for folks in the Faculty to understand that the purpose of this role is to support their interests,” said Nunez. “I will work very hard to gain researchers and students’ trust because we cannot build a strong innovation and research partnership strategy without the trust and collaboration of those who are to participate in it.”