Archiving Qualitative Online Sources: Obstacles, Strategies, and Lessons

2019-05-29T04:37:15Z (GMT) by Sebastian Karcher
Qualitative researchers often rely on a variety of online sources as data. Most research on the archiving and sharing of online and social media data has focused on large-n, massive data collections. This presentation addresses how web data collected in the course of small-n, qualitative work can be archived legally, and technically. The central argument is that the combination of legal and technical challenges calls for a pragmatic, case-by-case approach to archiving that takes advantage of the wealth of existing tools.

Most online data are subject to copyright and at times subject to additional usage licenses. I will discuss some effective strategies to identify copyright and licenses and how different scenarios can affect best strategies for archiving.

Archiving web data can also pose particular technical challenges. I discuss several tools designed to support these tasks, including,, and the suite of tools available from documenting the now, and how they can be integrated into the curation process of a data repository.

Throughout, the presentation draws on specific examples from the curation work at the Qualitative Data Repository (QDR) to illustrate particular challenges and discuss how QDR's curators decided to address them.