Web archives are the best hope for future researchers to understand the web of yesterday and today, but efforts to ensure that archives will be useful are lagging. This report asks what challenges web archives face, and suggests how to address them.


Much progress has been made in building tools for creating web archives, setting standards for web archiving, and building best practices for preserving web archives. IIPC has been instrumental in this advance. Considerably less attention has been paid to the full range of objectives that will be served by web archives. There is a shared assumption across the digital collections community that preserving and maintaining a record of the web is an important task. However, there is a need for a clearer understanding of the potential types of research that could be done using web archives. Otherwise, archives might not be fit for purpose, with the right tools available and usable. This project produced a white paper, which was delivered at the annual International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC), and a workshop discussing steps forward.


This project is funded by the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IPPC).



  • Meyer, E., Thomas, A. and Schroeder, R. (2011) Web Archives: The Future(s). Report for the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC).


  • Memory failure detected

    Date Published: 1 September 2011

    Source: Times Higher Education

    How can the vast material on the web be stored and archived for the benefit of researchers in the future? Eric Meyer talks about the challenge of a 'preservation mindset' which doesn't consider properly how websites will be used in the future.

  • Leader: Remember this – but not that

    Date Published: 1 September 2011

    Source: Times Higher Education

    The THE leader column discusses the privacy and legal conflicts in preserving information on the web, quoting both Eric Meyer's work on web archiving and the work of Viktor Mayer-Schönberger on the right to delete information.