Abbie Grotke, Alexandre Chautemps, Nicola Bingham, Maria Ryan, Alex Thurman & Daniel Gomes: Access policies, challenges and approaches

Abbie Grotke, Library of Congress
Alexandre Chautemps, Bibliothèque nationale de France
Nicola Bingham, British Library
Maria Ryan, National Library of Ireland
Alex Thurman, Columbia University Libraries
Daniel Gomes, – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

Organizations involved in web archiving are often faced with questions around giving access to archived content. Many are faced with restrictions on some or all archived content that make it difficult, impossible, problematic or simply impractical to provide access outside of the walls of the collecting organization.

A variety of influences affect the extent and policies around access. These include legal deposit laws, intellectual property and copyright laws and data protection legislation, ethical questions and concerns, risk assessments, and concern about providing access to sensitive content. How these issues are addressed can depend on different legal contexts but also on institutional policy.

Other organizations not affected by legal deposit may have differing challenges/approaches to access — risk averseness when in some cases access can be provided, but should it be? And to what extent? And should permission be requested? Can archived web content be provided in a non-consumptive way to alert researchers to content that may not be available?

This panel will explore a number of strategies organizations have employed for providing access to web archives. Panelists will share challenges they’ve faced and specific approaches used when enabling access to archived content; often a mixture of approaches is necessary. Discussion topics will include risk averseness and assessment, permissions approaches, embargoing content, providing access to derivative data sets or descriptive records in lieu of access to archived content that may be restricted, creating dark archives or determining not to collect something because access cannot be provided.

Note: The intent of this proposed panel is to build upon and extend the discussion held in New Zealand in 2018 during the “Legal deposit in an era of transnational content and global tech titans” panel ( While that panel was rooted in institutional policy and legislation, this follow-on discussion focuses on the different types of access provided in a variety of legal situations.

Panel: Access policies