End of Term Digital Preservation and How You Can Help

January 7, 2017

Join Informatics for an EOT Archiving Hackathon on Jan. 11 to help save environmental data from deletion.

There is a new old adage that parents tell their children: whatever you post on the Internet, stays on the Internet. Digital permanence has become an inconvenient, sometimes destructive, truth to social media hotheads who post before thinking, but what about information on U.S. Government websites? Is climate change data as equally eternal as a celebrity tweet? The answer is less simple.

That’s why archivists and concerned citizens have begun to take notice that federal government websites (eg., .gov, .mil, etc.) in the legislative, executive and judicial branches were at risk of being changed, consolidated, buried or altogether disappearing from public access during presidential transitions. Since 2008, the End of Term (EOT) Web Archive has preserved websites from both Republican and Democratic administration changes in 2008 and 2012, and is now preparing for the arrival of a Donald Trump presidency.

samantha-mcdonald-hackathonTrying to do her part, Informatics Ph.D. student Samantha McDonald is coordinating an EOT event on behalf of the Department of Informatics in collaboration with faculty and students at UC Riverside. The EOT Archiving Hackathon: Saving Environmental Data from Deletion will be held on Jan. 11, 2017 from 1-4:30 p.m. in Donald Bren Hall 5011. Although the event is hosted by Informatics, anyone with a laptop interested in helping to archive publicly available federal online data is invited to participate. Those interested can RSVP here. Participants of all skill levels are welcome and need only bring their laptops and chargers, as well as enthusiasm, to the archiving hackathon. Pizza and snacks will be provided.

“I initially heard about the project from UC Riverside and wanted to take part,” said McDonald. “When I asked if I could drive there, they suggested I start my own event at Irvine. I thought it was a great idea.”

McDonald, who just finished her first quarter at UC Irvine and is excited to be hosting UCI’s very first EOT hackathon, is being advised by Informatics Professors Bill Tomlinson and Bonnie Nardi.

Please contact Samantha (Sam) McDonald at smcdona2@uci.edu with any questions.

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