The Music Division's contributions to Library of Congress web archiving efforts began in 2011. The collections of web archives are curated by Music Division staff and comprise a unique part of our born-digital collections. Staff create these collections to preserve large volumes of web-based content of enduring value that can disappear at any moment.
With the vast amount of 21st-century performing arts heritage represented on the internet—often without analog or print equivalents—these web archive collections ensure that the Music Division fulfills the Library of Congress's digital strategy and mission to engage, inspire, and inform Congress and the American people with a universal and enduring source of knowledge and creativity.
The Music Division's web archive collections are thematic collections because the individual web archives are related to one another by shared subjects. These collections are also ongoing in their collecting time periods because the goal is to collect copies of these websites to document changes over time.
Learn more about these web archives curated by the Music Division, explore related resources, and read sample research questions to discover how you can become a user of the Music Division's web archive collections.
For event-based and Library-wide web archives with performing arts content, go to the Related Web Archive Collections section of this guide.
Use this collection to explore web archives related to the Music Division's special collections.
I'm writing about the life and career of a choreographer whose papers are held by the Music Division. I'm curious about how they marketed themselves and their dance company over time. Are web archives relevant to my topic?
Websites are often public-facing resources about performing arts professionals for the press because they may contain press kits, biographical summaries, artist statements, photographs, and work samples. Web archives are ideal for this kind of research because crawls occur over time and often capture uploaded documents and multimedia.
I noticed that you have my music composition mentor's collection in your list of special collections. After they passed away, their website disappeared. It had many great photos of our studio on it. Do you have that, too?
Browse the Performing Arts Web Archive's collection items or search for your mentor's name within the collection. If their website is part of the web archive, uploaded multimedia like photographs and sound files were likely captured and may display successfully.
I am in the process of donating my professional papers to the Music Division. Would this donation include my website?
The Library's web archiving program does not take ownership of websites in the same way that custodial divisions like the Music Division take physical custody of special collections. However, the earlier you mention your concern about your website to your Library liaisons, the sooner the process of crawling your website while it is still live can begin. Then, captures of your website can be added to the Performing Arts Web Archive alongside other websites that correspond to special collections creators one year after the first crawl.
Use this collection to explore contemporary music, living composers, 20th-century composers, and works commissioned by Music Division funds.
Why is it that every composer you ever commissioned doesn't have a website in this collection?
There are a few reasons. First, because the Music Division's commissions go back to 1925, there are composers whose lives or careers pre-date the internet. But, the collection does contain many websites of those composers' memorial foundations, estates, and awards named in their honor. There are also living composers who don't have websites of their own but have pages on their publishers' or universities' websites. That type of content is out of scope for this web archive.
There are living composers you have commissioned who don't have a website in your collection, but I found it archived in the Ivy Plus Consortium's Contemporary Composers Web Archive. Why don't you have it?
The Library of Congress uses a permissions-based model for web archiving, whereas the Ivy Plus Consortium uses a notification/opt-out model. Most websites in the LC Commissioned Composers Web Archive require permission for us to both copy and display the copies in our digital collections. Other possibilities are that we do have it in the collection, but either permission was only granted for on-site access or the content is still under the one-year embargo access restriction.
I want to analyze pedagogical family trees of composers and their respective students and teachers. How can I use web archives for this research?
The internet is also called "the web" because of how many connections there are across sites. While the Library's web archives are currently not yet full-text searchable, you can jump between web archives of students and teachers that link to one another within this collection if all of those URLs were crawled. You can also search the web archives for names of students and teachers to find web archives that did not link to each other when they were crawled. Contact LC Labs to ask how you can analyze data within the web archives.
Use this collection to research unions, public policy, scholarship, and professional development across performing arts communities.
Read these selected blog posts from the performing arts blog In the Muse that include content in the Professional Organizations for Performing Arts Web Archive!
Here are some ideas about how you can become a user of the Professional Organizations for Performing Arts Web Archive. Send a question of your own to Ask a Librarian!
I'm researching the history of an organization whose website is in this collection. I am specifically looking for records like founding documents, minutes, and conference proceedings. Do you have them?
Many professional organizations have their records in official repositories, but web archives can help to facilitate this kind of research if travel or physical access isn't possible because many organizations upload these types of records to their websites. If documents were uploaded to the website to a non-password-protected area at the time of crawling, then they were most likely captured. Explore the captures exactly how you would in the live web to find the directory pages that contain these documents, such as uploaded PDF files. However, note that websites' search bars will not function in the web archive.
I'm interested in how local chapters of an international organization came to be. Will I find that history in this collection?
This collection includes many local chapters of national and international organizations for exactly this reason. Many of these sites link to one another within the the web archive itself! This collection can serve as evidence of these relationships, but narratives about history depend upon the content on the websites themselves when they were crawled.