Awarded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation and marking Rhizome’s largest gift to date, the next two years will see the New York-based organisation receive the $1 million grant to support Webrecorder, the only free and open-source web archiving platform that allows users to create archival copies of websites. This move follows the foundation’s 2015 award of $600,000 to launch Webrecorder, described by Zachary Kaplan, Rhizome’s executive director, as a “decentralised, high-fidelity, user-friendly web archiving” system.
Active since 2016, Webrecorder includes tools that pull together information from open archives and live web pages to reassemble websites, embedded videos, social media and more, that have been lost or rendered unrecognisable over time. It proves particularly groundbreaking for restoring digital artworks with ease, especially when many earlier digital artworks were made with now outdated code.
Current users include the New Museum, the Frick Art Reference Library, the Posters Network at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Stanford University Press, the City University of New York and the National Film Board of Canada.
While Rhizome works to improve digital social memory through a user-friendly, non-expert level interactive web platform, it will also present its ongoing research into the cultural impact of web archiving and preservation in March at the New Museum’s Ethics & Archiving the Web conference.