Preserving Online Moments

To help document and preserve digital Black culture and experiences, the Broward County Library was awarded a National Leadership Grant

To help document and preserve digital Black culture and experiences, the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded Broward County Library with a $150,000 National Leadership Grant. Titled “Archiving the Black Web: A National Forum to Map the Landscape, Define the Issues, and Plan a Strategy for Documenting the Black Experience Online,” the national initiative is helmed locally by project director Makiba J. Foster, who serves as the regional manager of the African American Research Library & Cultural Center.

She says the grant is the first step in executing the creation of a future web archive, which would document lived experiences of the Black community, including things such as grassroots political/cause organizations, local businesses, smaller cultural heritage organizations, arts and culture creators, and websites and cultural moments that have historical significance.

“By the end of the grant, we will have an agreed-upon strategy and infrastructure to move forward with collaboratively archived web content related to Black experience,” she notes. The deliverable on this grant is to create a plan and set the path for those already doing this work with paper-based content.

“As the world becomes increasingly digital with less emphasis on paper, it is imperative that libraries/archives find ways to document this content,” says Foster. “This content is reflective of the changes and evolution of the people and the communities that we serve. Also, scholars have been researching and publishing about Black people’s behaviors online for a while, and to support future research, libraries and archives must find ways to preserve some of this content.”

Once plans are in place, the next phase will include applying for funding to create the web archive. The goal, Foster notes, is to present this archive to the public as a collection of content via a website/database that will be arranged by subject matter, topic, location, and more.

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