The Digital Library

Web Archives Preserve Web Sites for Public Access

The Internet has revolutionized access to a staggering amount of information, but it has also created challenges for archivists. Web sites and other digital media are constantly updated, move or disappear, with the average life span being three months. Changing file and hardware formats also render many digital documents obsolete in less than four years. The result is that essential data can be lost to scholars.

Last year, UC San Diego librarians began collaborating with the University of California's California Digital Library to build a series of Web archives on critical and timely subjects such as the swine flu epidemic and the devastating California wildfires of 2007. Other topics covered so far in the public CDL Web Archives include the Guantanamo Bay records, the Myanmar cyclone of 2008, the California recall election of 2003, and State of California and San Diego County local government sites.

The archives were built with a new Web Archiving Service developed by the CDL that has enabled UCSD and other UC librarians to capture, curate and preserve websites for the benefit of researchers, students and the general public.

"The WAS allows scholars and other users to both access the archives and search and analyze the contents in ways they could not do on the live Web," said Roger Smith, the administrator for the project and the manager of preservation at the UCSD Libraries. "UCSD and UC librarians, along with other librarians, have produced 21 Web archives on WAS, which include approximately 1,020 websites, nearly 68 million documents and 4.2 terabytes of data."

"Tools like the WAS give us the ability to preserve important elements of our cultural history," said Annelise Sklar, who participated in the UC and UCSD Libraries' efforts to build the archives. "When important historical events such as Hurricane Katrina or 9/11 take place, we can see public reactions unfold via blogs, personal websites and other Internet outlets, giving us a very valuable window into popular culture. All of these materials will serve as essential resources for scholars and researchers for years to come."

To view the Web archives go to:

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New Mobile Site Offers Quick, Easy Access to Libraries

The UC San Diego Libraries launched a new mobile Web site this fall, to meet the needs of the growing number of mobile device users on and off campus. The site, which can be accessed at:, provides quick mobile access to essential library information, including UC and UCSD catalogs, research tools, contacts, maps, and hours. Users can also text, chat, or call library staff right from their phone using the Ask a Librarian service. With the catalogs, users can search for, find, and reserve library items.

The Libraries are among the first UC Libraries – and only a small percentage of academic libraries in the U.S. – to launch a platform for users of mobile devices. The Libraries plan to add more services and tools to its mobile platform over the next several months.

Exhibits & Events

Oct. 13 - Jan. 28, 2011

Exhibit: UCSD @ 50: A Marvel Inside a Miracle Main Floor, Geisel Library

For more information, call (858) 534-2533.

Nov. 1 - Dec. 3, 2010

Celebrating UCSD's Nobel Prize Winners

An exhibit of photographs and personal & professional papers of UCSD Nobel Prize winners Harold Urey, Francis Crick, and Maria Goeppert-Mayer, among others.

For more information, call (858) 534-4579.

Nov.18, 2010

"Founding the Future: Health Sciences' Legacy of Excellence"

In celebration of UC San Diego's 50th anniversary, the Biomedical Library and Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences are hosting a Founders' Day seminar.

For more information, call (858) 534-3418.

Nov. 24, 2010

Annual Live Turkey Calling Show

For more information call the Arts Library at (858) 534-0245.

Dec.15, 2010

Annual Holiday Short Attention Span Show

For more information call the Arts Library at (858) 534-0245.

Feb. 1 - Mar. 30, 2011

Achieving the Extraordinary: 50 Years of Discovery and Innovation at UCSD

An exhibit of selected UCSD inventions and other intellectual property in partnership with the UCSD Technology Transfer Office.

For more information, call (858) 534-4579.

Jan. 7 – April 1, 2011

Exhibit: "Ansel Adams at UCSD"

For more information, call (858) 534-2533.

Domain Editors

  • Dolores Davies
  • Glenda Winders

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