Reflections on the IIPC General Assembly and Web Archiving Conference (WAC) 2024

Posted by Christopher Rauch on May 17, 2024 · 6 mins read

The IIPC General Assembly and Web Archiving Conference 2024, held at the François-Mitterrand site of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF), is an annual gathering that brings together web archiving professionals, scholars, and enthusiasts from around the globe, fostering an environment of collaboration and innovation.

The walkway to the entrance of the François-Mitterrand site.

Day 1: Reserved for IIPC Members

The conference began on April 24th with the General Assembly exclusively for IIPC members. The morning sessions included opening remarks and a chair address in the Grand Auditorium, followed by a detailed presentation of the IIPC Strategic Plan 2026-2031. This session was intended to outline the future directions and priorities for the consortium. However, as my institution is not a member of IIPC, I did not attend the day’s activities.

Day 2: Pre-Conference Workshops and Networking

Sawood Alam >

Mark Phillips >

I joined the conference on April 25th for the pre-conference workshops. One of the workshops I attended was “Leveraging Parquet Files for Efficient Web Archive Collection Analytics,” led by Sawood Alam (@ibnesayeed) and Mark Phillips (@vphill). This session introduced innovative methods for handling large datasets efficiently, providing practical skills and insights that I found valuable.

The official start of the Web Archiving Conference followed the workshops. The keynote panel on Skyblog, the French pioneer of digital social networks, provided a historical perspective on the evolution of digital social networks.

Unique Content >

Meghan Lyon >

One of the highlights of the conference for me was Session 2, “Unique Content,” where I had the honor of presenting our paper titled “Saving Ads: Assessing and Improving Web Archives’ Holdings of Online Advertisements.” This session, chaired by Meghan Lyon (@aquatic_archive) from the Library of Congress, featured diverse topics, from exploring thematic collections of street art to preserving digital artworks. Our presentation sparked engaging discussions on the challenges and strategies in archiving online advertisements, emphasizing the importance of such efforts in understanding digital culture and consumer behavior.

The imposing hallway leading to the Petit Auditorium where I gave my presentation. Photo by Anders Klindt Myrvoll.

The beginning of the Unique Content session during which I gave my talk.

Continued Learning and Collaboration

Lauren Ko >

The afternoon sessions continued with Session 4, “Delivery & Access,” chaired by Lauren Ko, and examined the challenges and solutions in ensuring access to archived web content. Workshops on browser-based crawling and quality assurance provided hands-on experiences and practical knowledge.

The day ended with a series of lightning talks that showcased innovative approaches and emerging technologies in web archiving. From generative AI to deduplication challenges, these talks highlighted the field’s dynamic and rapidly evolving nature.

Day 3: Closing with Vision

The final day, April 26th, continued with insightful panels and sessions. The panel on “Archiving Social Media in an Age of APIcalypse” was particularly relevant, addressing the current challenges posed by changes in social media APIs.

The closing keynote by Benoît Sagot (@bensagot) was a fitting end to the conference, providing a forward-looking perspective on the future of web archiving. The closing remarks encapsulated the essence of the conference—an event marked by learning, sharing, and envisioning the future of digital preservation.

Exploring the BNF: François-Mitterrand and Richelieu Sites

The conference was hosted at the François-Mitterrand site of the BNF, a modern architectural marvel that stands as a testament to contemporary design and functionality. The BNF, as the national library of France, holds a pivotal role in preserving the nation’s literary and cultural heritage. Web archiving is an important part of its mandate, as is ensuring that digital content is captured and preserved for future generations.

An additional highlight was the opportunity to visit the historic Richelieu site, the original location of the BNF. Established in the 18th century, the Richelieu site has a rich history as the repository of France’s literary and cultural treasures. Its majestic reading rooms and extensive collections provide a glimpse into the past while continuing to serve researchers and scholars.


Attending and presenting at the IIPC General Assembly and Web Archiving Conference 2024 was a remarkable experience. It was an opportunity to share our work, gain new insights, and forge connections with fellow professionals dedicated to preserving the digital heritage. The diverse sessions and workshops underscored the many faceted nature of web archiving and the importance of collaboration and continuous learning in this field.


We would like to thank both the organizers of IIPC WAC for inviting us to attend the event and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (via grant #LG-252362-OLS-22) for providing support for our travel.