The National Library of New Zealand has a legal mandate, and a social responsibility, to preserve New Zealand’s social and cultural history, be it in the form of books, newspapers and photographs, or of websites, blogs and videos. Increasing amounts of New Zealand’s documentary heritage is only available online. Users find this content valuable and convenient, but its impermanence, lack of clear ownership, and dynamic nature pose significant challenges to any institution that attempts to acquire and preserve it.

The Web Curator Tool was developed to solve these problems by allowing institutions to capture almost any online document, including web pages, web sites, and web logs, and most current formats, including HTML pages, images, PDF and Word documents, as well as multimedia content such as audio and video files. These artifacts are handled with all possible care, so that their integrity and authenticity is preserved. The public benefit from the safe, long-term preservation of New Zealand’s online heritage is incalculable. Our online social history and much government and institutional history will be able to be preserved into the future for researchers, historians, and ordinary New Zealanders. They will be able to look back on our digital documents in the same way that the New Zealanders of today look back on the printed words left to us by previous generations.

The software was developed as a collaborative project between the National Library of New Zealand and the British Library, conducted under the auspices of the International Internet Preservation Consortium. The Web Curator Tool has been built with support and contributions from professionals at the National Library of New Zealand, the British Library, Sytec Resources Ltd., Oakleigh Consulting, the National Library of Australia, the Library of Congress, and many others.

Project objectives

  • Meets the needs of the National Library of New Zealand
  • Meets the needs of the British Library
  • Is modular and can be extended to meet the needs of IIPC members and other organizations engaging in web harvesting
  • Manages permissions, selection, description, scoping, harvesting and quality review
  • Provides a consistent, managed approach allowing users with limited technical knowledge to easily capture web content for archival purposes.
  • The National Library of New Zealand has used the Web Curator Tool as the basis of its selective web archiving programme since January 2007. It is the primary tool and responsibility of the web archivists in the Alexander Turnbull Library.

The tool is open-source software and is freely available for the benefit of the international web archiving community.