UK Web Archive blog

Information from the team at the UK Web Archive, the Library's premier resource of archived UK websites

The UK Web Archive, the Library's premier resource of archived UK websites


News and views from the British Library’s web archiving team and guests. Posts about the public UK Web Archive, and since April 2013, about web archiving as part as non-print legal deposit. Editor-in-chief: Jason Webber. Read more

20 November 2019

Militarism and its role in the commemoration of British war dead

By Liam Markey, Collaborative Doctoral Student, University of Liverpool

Mediating Militarism: Chronicling 100 Years of Military Victimhood from Print to Digital, 1918-2018 is an ESRC funded CASE studentship in collaboration with the University of Liverpool and the British Library. The project aims to assess militarism and its role in the commemoration of the British war dead since the end of the First World War.
By taking advantage of unique access to print and digital materials captured and held by the British Library my aim is to chronicle the changing public portrayal of the British war dead from the print to the digital age, evaluating the role this portrayal plays in the mediation of militarism in the process.


What is Militarism?
Militarism, generally defined as the glorifying of war and invasion of the civilian sphere by military ideals, manifests itself in a variety of ways that depend heavily on contemporary politics, alongside both military and social developments. In the case of Britain, national narratives surrounding the First World War have played a key role in the development of the nation’s own form of militarism.

The nature of Britain’s involvement in the First World War meant that following the Armistice of 11th November 1918, a multitude of commemorative practices were developed in order to facilitate the mourning of an entire nation. British soldiers who had died abroad were not repatriated following the war, meaning tangible sites of mourning, such as the Cenotaph in London, were created as focal points of British remembrance. A unique language and symbology surrounding the commemoration of the war dead developed. Fallen soldiers began to be venerated as almost Christ-like figures, and symbols such as the poppy became tangible representations of commemoration, these practices continue into the present day and have saturated British attitudes to the military and the waging of war.

UK Web Archive
How, then, can the UK Web Archive assist in the development of this research project? Websites curated by the archive provide us with a valuable look at how ordinary British people and communities interact with these commemorative practices, and I am interested in looking at how the language and symbols popularised over the past century are reproduced, for example, in amateur websites. One of the big questions I have been asking as I carry out my research is how the First World War leaving living memory has affected the function of these practices.

Using the UK Web Archive to assess the British discourse around those who were killed in the war, be it regarding a family member or a soldier who served in a local regiment, will prove fascinating when interrogating ideas such as the sanitisation and trivialisation of war.

Does language steeped in religious rhetoric glorify war, representing the saturation of British commemorative practices with militarism over the past century, or instead are they an insight into the more personal and isolated forms of commemoration distinct from national narratives we are presented with in the media? Does an excessive use of the poppy on both amateur and media websites reflect this potent symbol’s original meaning or has it been hijacked to serve more nationalistic and militaristic purposes?

Materials collected by the UK Web Archive will prove invaluable in answering these questions.

04 October 2019

UKWA Website Crawl - One hour in One minute

By Jason Webber, Web Archive Engagement Manager, The British Library

Each year we attempt to collect as much of the UK web space as we can. This typically involves millions of websites and billions of individual assets (images, pdf's, css files etc.). We send out our robots across the interwebs looking for websites that we can archive. The bots follow links to pages that have links to follow and it keeps going until we have archived (almost) everything. But what does it look like to 'crawl' the web? Here we have condensed an hour of live web crawling into a one minute video:

Every circle is a different website, and every line represents a link that was followed between websites. The size of the circle represents how many pages we visited from that site, and the width of the line represents the number of links we followed.

If you want to see what we are crawling at the moment, look here (NOTE: this link only works while we are crawling the web):

You can see what we have captured at our website (, however, many of the sites themselves can only be viewed in the reading rooms of UK Legal Deposit Libraries. 

Despite our best efforts we can't collect every UK owned website as many are hosted abroad and not under a .UK (looking at you wordpress, squarespace and wix). You can nominate a website here:

30 September 2019

The Magic of Wimbledon in the UK Web Archive

By Robert McNicol, Librarian at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum


The magic of Wimbledon is its ability to preserve its history and tradition while simultaneously embracing the future. When you enter the Grounds of The All England Lawn Tennis Club, you know you’re somewhere special. It’s the spiritual home of the sport and you can feel the history all around you. And yet Wimbledon in 2019 is also a thoroughly modern sporting venue with state-of-the-art facilities for players, spectators, officials and broadcasters. While Wimbledon loves its traditions (the grass courts, the all-white clothing, the strawberries & cream), it has always been looking ahead as well. From the very first Lawn Tennis Championships in 1877, to the introduction of Open tennis in 1968, to the building of roofs on Centre and No.1 Courts. Wimbledon is both the past and the future of tennis.

It’s in this same spirit that the Kenneth Ritchie Wimbledon Library has teamed up with the British Library to curate a collection of tennis websites for the UK web archive. This is a subsection of the much larger Sports Collection on the UK Web Archive Website. Using the latest technology to preserve the past, it’s a project that captures the essence of Wimbledon.

Naturally, one of the first websites we added to the Tennis collection was our own. was established in 1995 and is very excited to be celebrating its 25th anniversary next year.  This project ensures that, in future, researchers will be able to go back and search the contents of the Wimbledon website from previous years. We have also archived some Wimbledon social media feeds, including the Twitter feed of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, of which the Library is part.

However, the ultimate aim is to archive a complete collection of UK-based tennis websites. This will include sites belonging to governing bodies, clubs, media and individual players. One part of the project already completed is to archive the Twitter feeds of all British players with a world ranking. From Andy Murray and Johanna Konta to Finn Bass and Blu Baker, every British player with a Twitter account has had it saved for posterity!

If you want to hear more about the project, you may be interested in attending Wimbledon’s Tennis History Conference on Saturday 9 November, where Helena Byrne (Curator of Web Archiving at the British Library) will be joining me to do a joint presentation.

And if you’d like to know more about the Wimbledon Library, feel free to get in touch. We’re the world’s biggest and best tennis library, holding thousands of books, periodicals and programmes from more than 90 different countries. We’re open by appointment to anyone with an interest in researching tennis history.

Finally, if you’d like to nominate a tennis or other sporting websites for us to archive, go to our Save a UK website form: