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About Cobweb


With funding from the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS) and in partnership with UCLA and Harvard University, CDL developed Cobweb, an open source platform to support collaborative collection development for web archives.

The shared curatorial decision-making enabled by Cobweb was developed to benefit libraries and archives already engaged in web archiving as well as those that have not yet started, to help them make better informed decisions regarding the allocation of their finite resources. Cobweb has also provided researchers with aggregated descriptions of archived resources to help them identify and find those useful to their research.

See the IMLS-funded Cobweb grant proposal.


The Cobweb team has engaged with the digital library, web archiving, and internet researcher communities through conference presentations and participation as well as structured conversations to gather user stories, learning from users’ experiences collecting and conducting research with web archives. We’ve also engaged in user testing to solicit direct feedback on how well the system supports web archiving workflows and meets both curator and researcher needs.

We also shared demonstrations of the Cobweb platform and its functionality through webinars, conference presentations, and by invitation to groups who are interested in learning more.

Cobweb Team

Work on Cobweb has included four coordinated and complementary activities:

Developing the open source Cobweb system (UCLA)

  • Kristian Allen, Technical Oversight/UCLA Coordination
  • Peter Broadwell, Technical Project Manager
  • Andrew Wallace, Technical Lead

User interface design and usability testing (Harvard University)

  • Lindsay Deal, User Experience Researcher
  • Amy Deschenes, User Experience Oversight
  • Janet Taylor, User Interface Designer
  • Anne Whiteside, Project Advisor/Harvard Coordination

Community outreach and engagement (CDL)

  • Stephen Abrams, Principal Investigator
  • Kathryn Stine, Outreach Manager/Project Management

System deployment (CDL)

  • Jim Vanderveen, System Administrator


Activity Dates of Activity
Fully functional demonstration system rollout October 2018
Prototype versioning, review June 2018, September 2018
Iterative development on prototype refinements December 2017 – September 2018
User testing, data gathering December 2017 – July 2018
First prototype rollout November 2017
Draft workflows and wireframes October – November 2017
Develop core functionality, import holdings metadata September – November 2017
Establish functional requirements, refine metadata specifications August – October 2017
Develop user personas and user stories, user data gathering August – October 2017