How the ‘guerrilla archivists’ saved history – and are doing it again under Trump

Discard Studies

Morgan Currie, University of California, Los Angeles and Britt S. Paris, University of California, Los Angeles

On Inauguration Day, a group of students, researchers and librarians gathered in a nondescript building on the north side of the University of California, Los Angeles campus, against a backdrop of pelting rain.

The group had organized in protest against the new U.S. administration. But, instead of marching and chanting, participants were there to learn how to “harvest,” “seed,” “scrape” and ultimately archive websites and data sets related to climate change.

The need for such work quickly became palpable. Within hours of Trump’s inauguration ceremony, official statements on anthropogenic, or man-made, climate change vanished from governmental websites, including whitehouse.gov and that of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The UCLA event was one of several “data rescue” missions that have cropped up around the U.S., supervised by the Environmental Data Governance Initiative

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