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Cobweb: Collaborative Collection Development for Web Archives

With funding from the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS) and in partnership with UCLA and Harvard University, CDL is developing Cobweb, an open source platform to support collaborative collection development for web archives. Cobweb’s core functionality supports digital curators in establishing projects to collect thematically organized web archives, allows for submission of nominations to those projects, tracks claims made by collecting organizations to participate by archiving nominated web resources, and reports on holdings that have been archived.

The shared curatorial decision-making enabled by Cobweb will benefit libraries and archives already engaged in web archiving as well as those that have not yet started, and it will help them make better informed decisions regarding the allocation of their finite resources. Cobweb also provides researchers with aggregated descriptions of archived resources to help them identify and find those useful to their research.

See the IMLS-funded Cobweb grant proposal External link.


We are engaging with the digital library, web archiving, and internet researcher communities through conference presentations and participation as well as structured conversations to gather user stories, learning from users’ experiences collecting and conducting research with web archives.

We’ll also be sharing demonstrations of the Cobweb prototype iterations and will be soliciting direct feedback on how well the system supports web archiving workflows and meets both curator and researcher needs.

If you have experience collaboratively developing web archive collections, or simply have questions about Cobweb, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact Kathryn Stine, Cobweb Outreach Manager.

Review Cobweb blog posts and presentations here:

Keep current with Cobweb progress at these upcoming events:

Cobweb Team

Current work on Cobweb consists of four coordinated and complementary activities:

  • Developing the open source Cobweb system (UCLA)
    • Kristian Allen, Technical Oversight/UCLA Coordination
    • Peter Broadwell, Technical Project Manager
    • Andrew Wallace, Technical Lead
  • User interface design and usability testing (Harvard University)
    • Amy Deschenes, User Experience Oversight
    • Janet Taylor, User Interface Designer
    • Anne Whiteside, Project Advisor/Harvard Coordination
  • Community outreach and engagement (CDL)
    • Stephen Abrams, Principal Investigator
    • Kathryn Stine, Outreach Manager/Project Management
  • System deployment (CDL)
    • Jim Vanderveen, System Administrator

Follow our development progress on GitHub External link.


Activity Dates of Activity
Develop user personas and user stories, user data gathering August – October 2017
Establish functional requirements, refine metadata specifications August – October 2017
Develop core functionality, import holdings metadata September – November 2017
Draft workflows and wireframes October – November 2017
First prototype rollout November 2017
User testing, data gathering December 2017 – July 2018
Iterative development on prototype refinements December 2017 – July 2018
Prototype rollouts May 2018, July 2018
Beta testing April - September 2018
Production system rollout September 2018
Sustainability planning July – October 2018
Last updated: April 10, 2018
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