“We were all very excited about the news, especially after the hard work we had put into the redesigning of our website, so I contacted my former colleagues at Swiss National Library, Barbara Signori and her team, and they were kind enough to give me more details about the process,” said Tankam-Tene.
The Swiss National Library, founded in 1895 in Bern, has the mandate to collect, catalogue and preserve information about Switzerland, in print or other media, and to make it available to the public. This information is collectively known as “Helvetica” or “e-Helvetica” for digital resources.
The Swiss National Library collects primarily commercial publications, the major example being books. Non-commercial publications—such as annual and financial reports—are a special collection. For websites, the library focuses on non-commercial ones, using a selective approach designed to cover a broad spectrum of the Switzerland’s social, political, economic, cultural and sporting life.
“The inclusion of the WCC website in the archives has been suggested by the librarians responsible for the corporate collections in order to complete the other resources already kept by the Swiss National Library,” said Tankam-Tene.
The WCC website does not yet appear in the catalogue of the Swiss National Library, as the process takes some time.
The collection of websites of patrimonial importance is known as Web Archive Switzerland. It is developed in close collaboration with Swiss cantonal libraries and other specialized libraries. The Swiss National Library ensures the collecting, the cataloguing, the long-term preservation and the access to the archived websites.
“In general, selected websites are ‘harvested’ annually, which means that a robot, or a ‘crawler' follows the links within a website, collects all the files it finds, and copies them onto the server. The aim is to archive a version of the website that is as comprehensive as possible and is displayed correctly,” said Tankam-Tene. “The process makes it possible to follow the evolution of the websites through times.”
The WCC debuted its new website in October 2020, with the “fresh presentation of the WCC programmes and providing intuitive ways of navigation in the wide spectrum of WCC work for unity, justice and peace,” said WCC communication officer Ivars Kupcis, coordinator of the WCC website development project.
One of the main goals for the new WCC website has been serving as a digital communication hub for the WCC’s multilingual fellowship, offering more opportunities for engagement with the content produced. “We are excited to see that in a year since the launch of the renewed WCC website we have been able to attract twice as much visitors as previously,” added Kupcis.
Websites in the archives can be full-text searched and displayed in e-Helvetica Access, the access portal for the digital collections. For copyright reasons, the Web Archive can only be accessed on the premises of the Swiss National Library and of those of its partner institutions, such as the cantonal libraries.