Just Launched: Democracy Reform and Voting Rights in the United States Web Archive

Written by Web Resources Collection Coordinator Alex Thurman and Journalism and Government Information Librarian Kristina Vela Bisbee

Columbia University Libraries is pleased to announce the launch of the Democracy Reform and Voting Rights in the United States Web Archive. The ongoing struggle in the United States between advocates for voting rights and official proponents of voter suppression measures intensified in 2020 during a bitter presidential election campaign conducted amidst the substantial additional challenges to participatory democracy posed by the global pandemic.

Screenshot from VoteRiders (https://www.voteriders.org/).

As the Biden administration gets underway with narrow Democratic Party control of the House and Senate, while legislatures in multiple states are advancing new voter restrictions, structural democracy reform and voting rights will be at the heart of major legislative debates in 2021 and beyond. Columbia University Libraries has initiated a new thematic web archive collection devoted to documenting these historic debates and any ensuing legislation, both at the national and in selected local contexts, focusing on democracy reform and voting rights and the following subtopics: campaign finance reform; electoral college reform (including the National Popular Vote interstate compact); the equal-time rule; gerrymandering; ranked-choice voting; universal voter registration; voter identification; voter suppression; DC statehood; Puerto Rico statehood; and Supreme Court expansion and reform.

The collection archives web content on the above topics created by national, state or local non-profit organizations or by grass-roots demonstration organizers; policy reports advocating for or against reform initiatives; and related legislation, legislative documents, and executive orders. Alex Thurman, Web Resources Collection Coordinator, and Kristina Vela Bisbee, Journalism and Government Information Librarian, proposed and are guiding the collection.

Screenshot from 51 for 51 (https://www.51for51.org/).

Web archives preserve vulnerable information that may disappear from the live web and capture the ways in which selected websites have evolved over time. Columbia University Libraries is creating thematic collections of archived websites and archiving the University’s web domain. Columbia University Libraries is also participating in collaborative web collecting with other research libraries via the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation and the International Internet Preservation Consortium. Learn more about the program and explore additional collections here.

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