Quick Start Guide


About the Web Curator Tool

The Web Curator Tool is a tool for managing the selective web harvesting process. It is typically used at national libraries and other collecting institutions to preserve online documentary heritage.

Unlike previous tools, it is enterprise-class software, and is designed for non-technical users like librarians. The software was developed jointly by the National Library of New Zealand and the British Library, and has been released as free software for the benefit of the international collecting community.

About this document

This document describes how to set up the Web Curator Tool on a Linux system in the simplest possible way. Its intended audience are users who want to quickly install and try out the software.

For a proper production set up, see the System Administrator Guide



  • Apache Tomcat 8.5 or newer
  • MySQL 5.0.95 or newer. PostgreSQL and Oracle are also supported, but in this Quick Start Guide we’ll be using MySQL/MariaDB
  • Heritrix 3.3.0 or newer
  • Java 8 or higher

Setting up Heritrix 3

We’re assuming that Tomcat and MySQL have already been set up. For Heritrix 3.3.0, we’ll be using a recent stable build of the 3.3.0 branch. The Heritrix 3 Github wiki contains a section detailing the current master builds available https://github.com/internetarchive/heritrix3/wiki#master-builds.

Unzip the archive containing the Heritrix binary, go into the resulting directory and execute the following:

user@host:/usr/local/heritrix-3.3.0-SNAPSHOT$ cd bin
user@host:/usr/local/heritrix-3.3.0-SNAPSHOT/bin$ ./heritrix -a admin

This starts up Heritrix with the password “admin” for the user admin, which is the default set of credentials used by the WCT harvest agent. You can also specify the Heritrix jobs directory using the -j parameter. Otherwise the default will be used <HERITRIX_HOME>/jobs.

Creating the database

Download the latest stable binary WCT release from https://github.com/DIA-NZ/webcurator/releases. Extract the archive and go into the resulting directory (in our case /tmp/wct). Then, to create the WCT database and its objects, run the script set-up-mysql.sh (found in the db subdirectory):

user@host:/tmp/wct$ cd db
user@host:/tmp/wct/db$ ./set-up-mysql.sh

You’ll need to set the variable $MYSQL_PWD in this script to the correct value for your MySQL installation.

Deploying and configuring the WCT components

To deploy the WCT components into Tomcat, copy the war files from the WCT directory to the Tomcat webapps directory.

user@host:/tmp/wct$ cd war
user@host:/tmp/wct/war$ cp * /usr/local/apache-tomcat-9.0.12/webapps

If Tomcat is already running with auto deploy configured autoDeploy="true" , then the war files should now be extracted into their own directories. If not, start/restart Tomcat.

Then shutdown Tomcat so you can edit the config files in the newly created directories.

Note that, by default, WCT assumes the existence of a directory /usr/local/wct , where it stores all its files. If you make sure that this directory exists, there should be no need to edit any config files.

After the war files have been extracted, we first need to check whether the database connection settings are appropriate for our situation. These settings can be found in the file webapps/wct/META-INF/context.xml. If you have a typical MySQL setup, you shouldn’t have to change anything here.

Next, we’ll make sure the WCT store component uses the correct directory for storage, by setting the variable arcDigitalAssetStoreService.baseDir in webapps/wct-store/WEB-INF/classes/wct-das.properties to the appropriate value. Make sure the device on which this directory is located has enough space to store your harvests. By default, it uses /usr/local/wct/store.

Finally, we need to make sure the temporary directory used by the H3 Harvest Agent is suitable for our situation by setting the variable harvestAgent.baseHarvestDirectory in webapps/harvest-agent-h3/WEB-INF/classes/wct-agent.properties to the appropriate value. The default is /usr/local/wct/harvest-agent.

Note, the harvestAgent.baseHarvestDirectory path cannot match the Heritrix 3 jobs directory. This will cause a conflict within the H3 Harvest Agent.

You can now start Tomcat, after which you should be able to login at http://localhost:8080/wct, using the user ‘bootstrap’ and password ‘password’. You can now create users and roles and configure the system. Refer to the User Manual for more information.


This document only covers the most simple scenario for setting up WCT and will probably not result in a system that meets the production requirements of your organisation. Important topics that have not been covered here: