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Research Using Web Archives

A guide to finding and using archived websites in research, including web archive collections curated by Penn State University Libraries.

Pennsylvania Shale Energy web archive

The Pennsylvania Shale Energy web archive is a collection of archived websites related to the topic of shale and natural gas in Pennsylvania. Main topical areas include: background information, health and environmental impacts, economic impacts, media coverage, government and policy, and science and technology. A particular emphasis has been placed on documenting possible ephemeral content, such as the efforts of community groups impacted by hydraulic fracturing in locales across Pennsylvania. This collection was curated in collaboration by librarians in Special Collections and  the Earth and Mineral Sciences Library at Penn State, and coordinated with librarians at Cornell University, who developed a parallel collection focused on New York: Hydraulic Fracturing in New York State web archives.


United Steelworkers web archive

This Web archive documents the United Steelworkers (USW), North America’s largest industrial union. The collection includes websites for the Steelworker’s United States and Canadian national organizations, USW district and local unions, and USW allied and partner groups. The collection was curated by librarians in the Special Collections Library.


Pennsylvania State University Student Organizations web archive

The Pennsylvania State University student organizations web archive is a collection of archived websites of student organizations that are recognized at Penn State's University Park Campus. These include Academic and Professional, Philanthropic, Fraternities and Sororities, Honor Societies, and International and Multicultural organizations. The web archive was curated by the Special Collections Library. 


Pennsylvania Perspectives on the 2016 Election

This web and social media archive documents the diversity of Pennsylvania perspectives around the 2016 U.S. election. The collection includes dedicated election sections on Pennsylvania news outlet websites, campaign websites and social media communications of Pennsylvania candidates for state and federal political offices, websites and social media from statewide political advocacy groups, and the perspectives of university student organizations found on Facebook. This web archive was collaboratively curated by Penn State librarians in History, Communications, Government Documents, and Special Collections.


Jerry Sandusky Scandal Web Archive

This collection documents the impact of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, and includes material captured from media websites, blogs, and social media. This web archive was created using selections identified by the University Archivist.


Pennsylvania State University Web Archive

This collection includes websites from Penn State academic departments, administrative units, research centers, student groups, faculty members, and the athletic department, and is primarily focused on the websites in the domain. This web archive began in 2013 and most university websites are being re-captured on an annual basis. The collection is curated by the Penn State Special Collections Library.

Pennsylvania Water Resources Web Archive

This web archive was created to document water resource, watershed association, water conservation, and water management web pages in Pennsylvania. Archived websites include non-profit groups at the state, regional, or local level that are dedicated to protecting, preserving, and restoring water resources and watersheds, as well as water authorities in the state that serve large population centers. The collection was curated by librarians in the Special Collections and Earth and Mineral Sciences libraries at Penn State.