Nicola Bingham, Lead Curator of Web Archiving, British Library
The British Library is continuing to experience disruption following a cyber-attack and are working hard to restore services. Disruption to some services is, however, expected to persist for several months. In the meantime, our buildings are open and we’ve released a searchable online version of our main catalogue, which contains records of the majority of our printed collections as well as some freely available online resources. Our reference team are on hand to answer queries, advise on collection item availability and help with other ways to complete your work. Please email [email protected] or find out more. The disruption is affecting our website, online systems and services. Please see our temporary website for up-to-date information.
Despite the disruption to access to the UK Web Archive, we continue to crawl or acquire copies of websites, as well as add new websites to our acquisition process which is being undertaken with Amazon Web Services in the Cloud, ensuring that the UK Web Archive collection is updated and preserved as usual.
We appreciate that for regular users of the UK Web Archive, the temporary unavailability of this valuable resource is inconvenient and disruptive. There exist several alternative openly accessible web archives that can serve as sources of information while the UK Web Archive is offline.
Other Openly Accessible Web Archives
Internet Archive: Known as the largest and most comprehensive web archive globally, it includes the famous Wayback Machine and boasts an extensive collection of archived web pages.
Understanding the Differences
While the Internet Archive captures a broad spectrum of global content, the UK Web Archive focuses specifically on the UK web. The UK Web Archive offers comprehensive crawls, curated collections, and secondary datasets for research. However, access is primarily restricted to legal deposit libraries, with some resources available openly.
The Internet Archive allows remote access to archived websites, but its search functionalities and scope differ from the UK Web Archive.
Memento Time Travel: This innovative platform operates under the Memento protocol, allowing users to view archived websites across various openly accessible web archives. It acts as a bridge, enabling access to past versions of web resources stored in archives such as the Internet Archive, Archive-It, UK Web Archive, archive.today, GitHub, and more. While it displays links to Mementos, it doesn’t retain the content itself.
Portuguese Web Archive (Arquivo.pt): Developed by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, this archive aims to preserve and grant access to the Portuguese web domain and its contents. It also archives a significant amount of European Union and transnational content. It's a valuable resource for preserving the digital heritage of Portugal and contributing to the preservation of European and Portuguese-language online information.
UK Government Web Archive: An openly accessible archive preserving UK central government information, encompassing videos, tweets, images, and websites dating from 1996 to the present day.
UK Parliament Web Archive: This openly accessible archive covers parliamentary websites and social media content from 2009 to the present day.
National Records of Scotland Web Archive: Offering open access, this archive allows browsing and searching of websites related to Scotland’s people and history.
Seeking Information and Resources While the UK Web Archive is offline, the UK Web Archive blog remains accessible and serves as a useful source of information about the archive.
Additionally, although the UK Web Archive itself might be temporarily inaccessible, its information pages have been preserved by the Internet Archive, accessible [here] (https://web.archive.org/web/20240000000000*/https://www.webarchive.org.uk).
For those keen on delving deeper, the British Library Research Repository houses supporting documents related to the UK Web Archive, such as collection scoping documents, annual reports, statistics, and research publications. The repository can be accessed [here](https://doi.org/10.23636/hj5v-3c07).
While the UK Web Archive takes a brief hiatus, we hope these alternative resources help. And perhaps embracing these other openly accessible archives might even unveil new avenues and perspectives for exploration.
While we work hard to recover all our online services you can find regular updates on progress published on our Knowledge Matters blog.