Tech Highlight: New Version of Rhizome’s Webrecorder

NetFreedom Pioneers’ Toosheh project works with Webrecorder, a free online tool that allows anyone to record and archive what they view on the internet. This innovative tool has become a key part of Toosheh Satellite Datacasting. Toosheh employees use Webrecorder to record news website content to then send via satellite to users across the world.

Webrecorder, a Rhizome project, has also proved to be a groundbreaking advance in digital preservation. While past archiving tools were able to capture simple web content, Webrecorder can record all of users’ internet browsing sessions, including social media interactions, embedded videos, and non-public resources. All users have to do is to choose a name for their internet session, paste the URL into the Webrecorder site, and press “record”. As the user surfs the web -reading articles, liking social media posts, watching videos, or even editing a Google document- he or she can choose what is archived and what isn’t. At the same time, Webrecorder does not record or memorize passwords or security phrases. Users can thus rest assured that their non-public accounts are safe.

After Webrecorder’s opening success it recently launched a new version that includes a desktop app: Webrecorder Player. This desktop app allows users to view their web archive recordings offline.

Dragan Espenschied, Preservation Director of Rhizome, wrote the following about Webrecorder’s new version and how it serves web users:

“Web archiving is not yet something that is practiced by regular users, but is mostly done by big institutions and at large scale. We are striving to create a solution that helps a layperson understand how web archiving works and take control of their collections. The desktop application was a key step. Traditionally, web archives consist only of publicly accessible materials that are presented back to the public at a later date. Webrecorder allows users to archive a wider range of material, for example social media conversations behind a log-in, and create their own sharing networks. We hope that the desktop app will reach users that maybe don’t have access to server infrastructure or the knowledge how to use it, but can run local software and share files via USB or the like.”

Shannon Mattern, New School Media Studies Associate Professor; Dragan Espenschied, Rhizome Preservation Director; Mehdi Yahyanejad, NFP Director; and Josh Miller, White House Office of Digital Strategy Product Management Director recently discussed the role digital archiving can play in shaping political reality at the Digital Social Memory conference in New York City. The session can be watched here.

Shannon Mattern, New School Media Studies Associate Professor; Dragan Espenschied, Rhizome Preservation Director; Mehdi Yahyanejad, NFP Director; and Josh Miller, White House Office of Digital Strategy Product Management Director recently discussed the role digital archiving can play in shaping political reality at the Digital Social Memory conference in New York City. The session can be watched here.

Upon being asked to share possibilities of prospective updates for Webrecorder and Webrecorder Player, Dragan was happy to announce future improved support for multiple languages and other “internationalization features.” These features will again be created to “expand access and ownership of personal digital archives to a larger, more diverse set of users.”