Web Archiving Methods and Approaches: A Comparative Study

The Web is a virtually infinite information space, and archiving its entirety, all its aspects, is a utopia. The volume of information presents a challenge, but it is neither the only nor the most limiting factor given the continuous drop in storage device costs. Significant challenges lie in the management and technical issues of the location and collection of Web sites. As a consequence of this, archiving the Web is a task that no single institution can carry out alone. This article will present various approaches undertaken today by different institutions; it will discuss their focuses, strengths, and limits, as well as a model for appraisal and identifying potential complementary aspects amongst them. A comparison for discovery accuracy is presented between the snapshot approach done by the Internet Archive (IA) and the event-based collection done by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) in 2002 for the presidential and parliamentary elections. The balanced conclusion of this comparison allows for identification of future direction for improvement of the former approach.