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WARC File Format Published as an International Standard

An exciting announcement from the International Internet Preservation Consortium regarding the preservation file format generated using the Heritrix web crawler (used for all Archive-It and Internet Archive crawls for partners):

The International Internet Preservation Consortium is pleased to
announce the publication of the WARC file format as an international
standard: ISO 28500:2009, Information and documentation — WARC file
format.
[http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=44717]
For many years, heritage organizations have tried to find the most
appropriate ways to collect and keep track of World Wide Web material
using web-scale tools such as web crawlers. At the same time, these
organizations were concerned with the requirement to archive very large
numbers of born-digital and digitized files. A need was for a container
format that permits one file simply and safely to carry a very large
number of constituent data objects (of unrestricted type, including many
binary types) for the purpose of storage, management, and exchange.
Another requirement was that the container need only minimal knowledge
of the nature of the objects.
The WARC format is expected to be a standard way to structure, manage
and store billions of resources collected from the web and elsewhere. It
is an extension of the ARC format
[http://www.archive.org/web/researcher/ArcFileFormat.php ], which has
been used since 1996 to store files harvested on the web. WARC format
offers new possibilities, notably the recording of HTTP request headers,
the recording of arbitrary metadata, the allocation of an identifier for
every contained file, the management of duplicates and of migrated
records, and the segmentation of the records. WARC files are intended to
store every type of digital content, either retrieved by HTTP or another
protocol.
The motivation to extend the ARC format arose from the discussion and
experiences of the International Internet Preservation Consortium [
http://netpreserve.org/ ], whose core mission is to acquire, preserve
and make accessible knowledge and information from the Internet for
future generations. IIPC Standards Working Group put forward to ISO
TC46/SC4/WG12 a draft presenting the WARC file format. The draft was
accepted as a new Work Item by ISO in May 2005.
Over a period of four years, the ISO working group, with the
Bibliothèque nationale de France [http://www.bnf.fr/ ] as convener,
collaborated closely with IIPC experts to improve the original draft.
The WG12 will continue to maintain [http://bibnum.bnf.fr/WARC/ ] the
standard and prepare its future revision.
Standardization offers a guarantee of durability and evolution for the
WARC format. It will help web archiving entering into the mainstream
activities of heritage institutions and other branches, by fostering the
development of new tools and ensuring the interoperability of
collections. Several applications are already WARC compliant, such as
the Heritrix [http://crawler.archive.org/ ] crawler for harvesting, the
WARC tools [http://code.google.com/p/warc-tools/ ] for data management
and exchange, the Wayback Machine
[http://archive-access.sourceforge.net/projects/wayback/ ], NutchWAX
[http://archive-access.sourceforge.net/projects/nutch/ ] and other
search tools [http://code.google.com/p/search-tools/ ] for access. The
international recognition of the WARC format and its applicability to
every kind of digital object will provide strong incentives to use it
within and beyond the web archiving community.
A press release is available on the IIPC website:
General information about the IIPC can be found at:
———————–
Abbie Grotke
Library of Congress
IIPC Communications Officer
netpreserve.org

The International Internet Preservation Consortium is pleased to
announce the publication of the WARC file format as an international
standard: ISO 28500:2009, Information and documentation — WARC file
format.

[http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=44717]

For many years, heritage organizations have tried to find the most
appropriate ways to collect and keep track of World Wide Web material
using web-scale tools such as web crawlers. At the same time, these
organizations were concerned with the requirement to archive very large
numbers of born-digital and digitized files. A need was for a container
format that permits one file simply and safely to carry a very large
number of constituent data objects (of unrestricted type, including many
binary types) for the purpose of storage, management, and exchange.
Another requirement was that the container need only minimal knowledge
of the nature of the objects.

The WARC format is expected to be a standard way to structure, manage
and store billions of resources collected from the web and elsewhere. It
is an extension of the ARC format
[http://www.archive.org/web/researcher/ArcFileFormat.php ], which has
been used since 1996 to store files harvested on the web. WARC format
offers new possibilities, notably the recording of HTTP request headers,
the recording of arbitrary metadata, the allocation of an identifier for
every contained file, the management of duplicates and of migrated
records, and the segmentation of the records. WARC files are intended to
store every type of digital content, either retrieved by HTTP or another
protocol.

The motivation to extend the ARC format arose from the discussion and
experiences of the International Internet Preservation Consortium [
http://netpreserve.org/ ], whose core mission is to acquire, preserve
and make accessible knowledge and information from the Internet for
future generations. IIPC Standards Working Group put forward to ISO
TC46/SC4/WG12 a draft presenting the WARC file format. The draft was
accepted as a new Work Item by ISO in May 2005.

Over a period of four years, the ISO working group, with the
Bibliothèque nationale de France [http://www.bnf.fr/ ] as convener,
collaborated closely with IIPC experts to improve the original draft.
The WG12 will continue to maintain [http://bibnum.bnf.fr/WARC/ ] the
standard and prepare its future revision.

Standardization offers a guarantee of durability and evolution for the
WARC format. It will help web archiving entering into the mainstream
activities of heritage institutions and other branches, by fostering the
development of new tools and ensuring the interoperability of
collections. Several applications are already WARC compliant, such as
the Heritrix [http://crawler.archive.org/ ] crawler for harvesting, the
WARC tools [http://code.google.com/p/warc-tools/ ] for data management
and exchange, the Wayback Machine
[http://archive-access.sourceforge.net/projects/wayback/ ], NutchWAX
[http://archive-access.sourceforge.net/projects/nutch/ ] and other
search tools [http://code.google.com/p/search-tools/ ] for access. The
international recognition of the WARC format and its applicability to
every kind of digital object will provide strong incentives to use it
within and beyond the web archiving community.

A press release is available on the IIPC website:
http://netpreserve.org/press/pr20090601.php

General information about the IIPC can be found at:
http://netpreserve.org

———————–
Abbie Grotke
Library of Congress
IIPC Communications Officer
netpreserve.org

Originally posted on The Web Archiving at archive.org Blog by waybackmolly.
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Written by internetarchive

June 3, 2009 at 11:16 pm

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