DLCL Contributes to Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Archiving Efforts

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has not only impacted the Ukrainian people, it has also put Ukrainian cultural heritage in jeopardy. From museums with irreplaceable collections to libraries with unique manuscripts, all of these materials are at risk of being lost. While rescuing physical objects is extremely difficult in the circumstances of war, many museums and libraries have put digital surrogates of some of their collections online -- or at least records of the existence of these objects. On March 1st, the SUCHO (Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online) project launched to try to create high-fidelity digital archives of Ukrainian cultural heritage websites. SUCHO is co-led by DLCL's Academic Technology Specialist Quinn Dombrowski, Anna Kijas from Tufts University, and Sebastian Majstorovic from the Austrian Center for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage. In a matter of days, SUCHO has rallied over a thousand volunteers from across the world to ensure that libraries, archives, and museums are reliably captured via the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, as well as through web archives using WebRecorder, that are checked for completeness by people who can read Ukrainian and Russian.

Masha Gorshkova, a graduate student in the Slavic department, has been volunteering with the quality control group for SUCHO, noting places where the web archives have failed to capture everything so that other volunteers can improve the archives. Georgii Korotkov, another graduate student in Slavic, has been part of the team that uses the Browsertrix crawler software to archive sites. He also has been an essential part of efforts to archive the catalog of the National Library of Ukraine, which uses the IRBIS library system common in former Soviet countries. IRBIS isn't well known among library professionals in the US, and has a unique system of setting up page URLS, which makes it challenging to work with for web archiving.

In addition to archiving Ukrainian cultural heritage, SUCHO is developing a set of tutorials and resources that will lay the groundwork for future efforts to capture digital materials at risk due to war. Ilya Kreymer, whose WebRecorder software is also used by Stanford Libraries, has made significant software developments over the last week that have made this effort easier.

SUCHO has received emergency grants from ACH (the US-based professional organization for digital humanities) and EADH (the European DH association), and is currently working with Amazon Web Services to scale up their archiving efforts.

To learn more, please contact:

Quinn Dombrowski, Academic Technology Specialist
qad [at] stanford.edu (qad[at]stanford[dot]edu)