The National Digital Stewardship Alliance is pleased to announce the release of the 2016 Web Archiving Survey Report (PDF).

From January 20 to February 16, 2016, a team representing multiple NDSA member institutions and interest groups conducted a survey of organizations in the United States actively involved in, or planning to start, programs to archive content from the Web. This effort built upon a similar survey undertaken by NDSA in late 2011 and published online in June 2012 and a second survey in late 2013 published online in September 2014.

The reports and survey instruments are available on the NDSA Web site at

The survey data is also available for review and reuse.

The goal of these surveys is to better understand the landscape of Web archiving activities in the United States by investigating the organizations involved, the history and scope of their Web archiving programs, the types of Web content being preserved, the tools and services being used, access and discovery services being provided, and overall policies related to Web archiving programs. While this survey documents the current state of US Web archiving initiatives, comparison with the results of the 2011 and 2013 surveys enables an analysis of emerging trends. This report therefore describes the current state of the field, tracks the evolution of the field over the last few years, and points to future opportunities and developments.

A few major takeaways from the report include:

  • More programs are moving from pilot to production (79% of respondents classified their status as production; only 5% as pilot)
  • There are increased perceptions of progress over past 2 years (77% respondents reported that their program had made either significant or some progress over the past two years.)
  • The top 3 areas where organizations have made the most progress are: data capture, appraisal and selection, and vision and objectives
  • The top 3 areas where organizations have made the least progress are: access/use/reuse, metadata/description, and quality assurance and analysis
  • The number of respondents who are transferring their Web archive data from an external service (such as Archive-It) remains low at ~20%
  • Staffing levels for web archiving remain low: 76% (64 of 84) of organizations are devoting less than the equivalent of one fulltime employee’s (FTE) time to web archiving
  • The top three staff skills essential to development and success of programs: facility with archiving tools, skills for appraisal and selection, skills for performing quality assurance

And finally, the report reveals a growing trend seen across the reports that shows a significant interest in collaboration on a number of fronts. Survey respondents desire collaboration on topics ranging from quality assurance techniques to best practices for policy and management of web archives, yet many institutions feel they have neither the time nor resources to lead or participate in collaborative activities. With this finding, the 2016 report authors encourage the community and stakeholders to invest in research and development efforts to create sustainable frameworks that can facilitate practical, meaningful, and effective collaboration.


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