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Archiving the Black Web: A National Forum

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Archiving the Black Web: A National Forum

Broward County Library

Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion | 2021

Innovation Summary

The “Archiving the Black Web: A National Forum to Map the Landscape, Define the Issues and Plan a Strategy for Documenting the Black Experience Online” initiative unites Black collecting institutions to create a blueprint for web archiving Black cultural/historical collections online.

Problem Statement

Web archiving is costly, presenting access and resource challenges that prevent large sectors of archivists, especially in Black collecting organizations, from fully engaging. It has developed mostly within a network of professionals in well-resourced, primarily white academic institutions and national libraries. ATBW is a call to action to address these issues and establish a more equitable and accessible web archiving practice that can more effectively document the Black experience online.


The ATBW Forum was held online April 29 and April 30. Led by the African American Research Library & Cultural Center in collaboration with prestigious Black collecting institutions, it featured panel discussions with expert archivists, educators and librarians that facilitated a critical dialogue about documenting culturally relevant yet ephemeral web content by and about Black people. These will be used to create infrastructure and framework for future documentation of Black history and culture on the web.


The ATBW Forum, which had over 700 attendees, was the first of its kind to address issues of marginalization of Black culture online, successfully bringing together stakeholders in this field for an initial conversation on the topic with the goal of creating real and lasting change. Anticipated outcomes include improved and standard best practices for digitally archiving the Black Web.