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The evolution of web archiving

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Web archives preserve information published on the web or digitized from printed publications. Much of this information is unique and historically valuable. However, the lack of knowledge about the global status of web archiving initiatives hamper their improvement and collaboration. To overcome this problem, we conducted two surveys, in 2010 and 2014, which provide a comprehensive characterization on web archiving initiatives and their evolution. We identified several patterns and trends that highlight challenges and opportunities. We discuss these patterns and trends that enable to define strategies, estimate resources and provide guidelines for research and development of better technology. Our results show that during the last years there was a significant growth in initiatives and countries hosting these initiatives, volume of data and number of contents preserved. While this indicates that the web archiving community is dedicating a growing effort on preserving digital information, other results presented throughout the paper raise concerns such as the small amount of archived data in comparison with the amount of data that is being published online.

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This work could not have been done without the support of the Portuguese Web Archive team. We also thank FCT for the financial support of the Research Units of LaSIGE (PEst-OE/EEI/UI0408/2014) and INESC-ID (UID/CEC/50021/2013), and the DataStorm Research Line of Excellency (EXCL/EEI-ESS/0257/2012).

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Correspondence to Miguel Costa.

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Costa, M., Gomes, D. & Silva, M.J. The evolution of web archiving. Int J Digit Libr 18, 191–205 (2017).

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