During one of our UN Week activities, we were asked by several people if there was a way to preserve the online presence made during President Barack Obama’s historic terms in office. Officially, the presidential transition process begins after a new president is elected on 8 November 2016, at which time all agencies prepare to transfer both federal and presidential records to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Many of these records will eventually find their way to the future Barack Obama Presidential Library in Chicago.
This process includes preserving websites, emails, social media accounts and other online entities used during the Obama administration. The Library of Congress and partnering research libraries are responsible for preserving public United States Government websites at the end of Obama’s administration ending 20 January 2017. This also includes most websites with domains ending in .gov, .edu and .mil. The “End of Term” team of librarians, political and social science researchers, and academics are charged with collecting and crawling these websites, and giving priority to websites that might change drastically or entirely disappear during the presidential transition process between November and January.
The team previously did web harvests in 2008 and 2012 and you can view their archives here. You can help the project by nominating your favorite .gov website, other federal government websites or governmental social media account with the End of Term Nomination Tool.
We will do our own in-depth look at Obama’s technology legacy here in the near future!