Preserving Japanese-American Digital History

During a pandemic when library print materials are inaccessible, one of the best ways librarians can serve the public is by ensuring that digital history is preserved. And one of the most important tools to preserve digital history is Archive-It, developed by the Internet Archive to preserve whole websites through their various iterations and transformations.

One area of digital history of special significance in my work over the last few years has been Japanese-American History. With the CSU Fullerton subscription to Archive-It, and at the request of professors and graduate students working in this area, we have created multiple-point web archives of the following:

CSU Japanese American History Digitization Project Web Archive is the shared site for several CSUs to host and share locally digitized materials related to Japanese American history.

Densho Web Archive

Densho is a non-profit organization based in Seattle and dedicated to “preserve and share history of the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans to promote equity and justice today.”

JANM: Japanese American National Museum Web Archive

The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles was founded by Bruce Kaji in 1992 and houses a massive amount of material spanning 130 years of Japanese-American history across a wide array of media.

The Kitaoka Project Web Archive

A History Master’s degree project by Joshua Cawley, this Digital Humanities / Digital History project seeks to tell the story of Brea’s most notable Japanese-American family before, during, and after internment.

A full list of CSU Fullerton’s web archival collections shows the history and growth of our web archiving efforts.  Each one of these collections is like a digital time machine (part of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, in fact), letting us view earlier iterations of these websites and how they have changed over the years.

Readers may also be interested in a previous article on the Internet Archive Blog related to our special effort to preserve the US House Foreign Affairs Committee website.

The views expressed herein are the author’s alone. The author additionally recommends donating to any and all institutions conducting web archiving. Please earmark any such gifts: “Web Archiving.”