Dissertations & Theses

Depositing Digital Work

Graduating authors may request that related digital projects be preserved in conjunction with the deposit of a traditional text-based dissertation or thesis. Fill out the GC Digital Preservation Request form to prompt a consultation and to provide metadata to describe and index your project. Also see the GC library's guidelines for documenting digital projects for deposit. 

There is no single method or platform for archiving and preserving digital works. Open source tools and methods can preserve your work.


  1. The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine routinely crawls open websites and adds them to the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive's Save Page Now preserves web pages (one at a time) on demand and produces a Wayback Machine URL. The GC Library may point the Archive-It crawler to publicly preserve a site at a chosen time, e.g. near completion of a degree, to produce a URL referencing the preserved record of a site. Authors may include these preservation URLs in a thesis or dissertation deposit record.
  2. A Web Archive (WARC) file capture of a website can supplement your dissertation or thesis in CUNY Academic Works. Visit each page with Webrecorder (use this guide for assistance). Download the capture as a WARC file, then test using Webrecorder Player before including it as a part of your deposit in CUNY Academic Works.  
  3. HTTrack captures a static version of a site in component files. Zip the contents of the HTTrack download and upload it as a supplemental file in CUNY Academic Works.

Images, Audio, Video

Still images, audio, or video files may supplement a thesis or dissertation submission in the CUNY Academic Works. Several supplemental files may be combined in a single .zip or .tar file. Use the Library of Congress recommended formats

Alternatively, upload image, audio, and video files to Internet Archive (archive.org) and organize the URLs for inclusion in your CUNY Academic Works submission. 

Applications and Software

  • If your software is unique, create a .zip or .tar file containing source code and a readme file explaining software requirements (e.g. OS, Apache, MYSQL, PHP, Python versions) and building instructions. This file can supplement your thesis or dissertation deposit. 
  • Prepare a .zip or .tar file  of the backend database (or data) to use as a supplemental file.
  • Prepare a screencast or recording showing how the application works to use as a supplemental file. See:
  • Windows
  • iPhone
  • iPhone
  • Android

Questions? libraryweb@gc.cuny.edu 

Best Practices for Developing your Website

The Internet Archive crawler publicly preserve web pages and sites.

  • Each page on the site should have a unique URL.

  • Delete or modify robots.txt file to allow for crawling. Test with the google tester.

  • Host media (multimedia, video, audio) content locally. Or, host media on the Internet Archive (archive.org), and embed the Internet Archive URL in your current website.  

  • Streaming media (YouTube, Vimeo, and Soundcloud) platforms are not built for long term preservation. YouTube videos are easier to preserve with the Internet Archive crawler than Vimeo videos. Each YouTube video can appear only once on the entire site or the crawler will not capture either instance of the same video. Vimeo embeds can be preserved with the Internet Archive, but only one Vimeo video can be embedded on each page.  

  • Websites with nested javascript are difficult for the Internet Archive to preserve.

  • ARCGIS, StoryMaps and Flash compositions are difficult for the Internet Archive to preserve..

  • WebRecorder preserves Scalar better than the Internet Archive does.

  • To archive searches, collect URLs of popular search result pages and add them to a page on your site. The Internet Archive crawler might be able to capture theses searches. 

  • Interactivity is not easily preserved by the Internet Archive. Build a static, rather than a dynamic site, and screen video capture the interactive aspects of the site, then post the video on the site. WebRecorder captures interactivity better than the Internet Archive.


Known Web Archiving Challenges

Stanford Libraries Best Practices

Columbia University's Best Practices

LOC Guide

Smithsonian Guide

5 Tips for Creating Preservable Websites