The Internet has become one of the major venues for the sharing of culture and knowledge. A growing body of primary source material is being created digitally and distributed on the web. Yet because of the Internet’s fluid nature, often pages or entire sites can change or disappear without leaving a trace. Researchers want to ensure that the content of a website can be viewed repeatedly, at any given time. They need this digital material in order to fully understand the cultural, economic, political and social activities of today and to analyze changes in the future. Consequently, there is a growing awareness of the need to track and archive web content, both as a record of our time and to recreate the web experience for future analyses. With this in mind a team of University of Hawaii at Manoa librarians have organized a Web Archiving Project. Supported by the ArchiveIt project through the Internet Archive, this team has begun to build an archive of websites, which will be available for our research community.
For the Hawaiian Collection at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Library it is especially important to archive websites and blogs related to cultural, social, and political movements in Hawaii, in particular the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. Self-determination for Hawaiians has been a continuing theme for Hawaii, since its illegal takeover by the United States government. The Hawaiian sovereignty movement is a constantly evolving one, with new concepts, individuals and organizations regularly emerging — even as other concepts, individuals and organizations run their course. What form actual sovereignty will ultimately take is still undecided, but in the meantime, the Internet has become a major tool for various organizations seeking to disseminate information on the movement.
The Hawaiian sovereignty movement is also a topic of great interest within the academic community and the public at large, and is already a much-studied movement on the University of Hawaii campus. In the future, the topic will continue to be researched by students, faculty, international scholars, and other indigenous peoples of the world seeking to regain their own sovereignty. Hawaiian sovereignty is not only a concern for the US; it is an international question, and has been discussed and examined in international forums.
If you would like to submit requests to have us archive certain Pacific Island websites, please contact Eleanor Kleiber, Pacific Specialist Librarian, at email@example.com.
During the last three decades of the 20th century, many Pacific island nations have gone through the process of decolonization. As such, they face multiple challenges when it comes to preserving online material. Given the various instabilities that exist in the Pacific — instability of internet connections and servers, instability of public financing (resulting in governments reducing or phasing out printed products in favor of online versions), and instability of governments themselves (resulting in the disappearance of online-only material that serves as the only documentation of a specific government’s actions) — the archiving of Pacific-based Internet content is not only of value to researchers, but serves as a means of maintaining community memory.