In this presentation, the author, the University of Kentucky university archivist, outlines a problem with acquiring currently-created university documents and offers some initial solutions. The problem is that key university records of historical and strategic importance are being distributed or published online and not routinely transferred to the archives the way they were in the past. Unless these documents are proactively acquired by the university archives, they are likely to be lost because of the ephemeral nature of the Web. Yet, crawling or otherwise capturing dynamic and changing web platforms adds technological complexity and thus requires additional resources. Given that the author has scarce time and money and given the risk of loss of these documents, how should the university archives re-align its acquisitioning effort? Five initial solutions are proposed: First, acknowledge the technological and resource challenge of online formats, while also acknowledging the opportunity their acquisition provides for a wider, stronger presence of voices and content in the historical record. Second, rethink appraisal criteria, moving away from the university records schedule and more carefully quantifying the resources required for acquisition. Third, based on a appraisal, re-allocate the resources to which the archives already has access. Fourth, continue to test and research to refine the technology and staffing requirements and the appraisal criteria. Fifth, use the research, testing, thinking, and practice to advocate for more support.

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Society of American Archivists annual conference, Boston, Massachusetts