As all thoughts turn to Scotland and the Scottish Referendum which is taking place on the 18th of September it seems appropriate to highlight some recent developments in the digital sphere that will impact the Web Archiving Team over the coming months.
New top level domain (TLD) for Scotland
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has released a suite of new top level domains (TLDs) this year. One of these is .scot (live since 15 July 2014) allowing organisations and individuals to create websites and email addresses identifying themselves as Scottish. The new TLD follows a near-decade long campaign by the Dot Scot Registry, a not-for-profit company created to apply for and operate the .scot domain as an online identity for Scots worldwide.
.scot is a community domain meaning anyone can apply for it, however for the first 60 days the domain was only available to launch ‘pioneers’, a cross section of organisations based in Scotland or part of the Scottish diaspora community. The first pioneer website to go live on 15th July was calico.scot - a Highlands based Internet Service Provider who offer .scot domain registrations. Over 50 pioneers have signed up including the Scottish government, the Scouts in Scotland, Yes Scotland and Better Together.
Scotland beyond Britain
Individuals and groups outside of Scotland have also taken advantage of the new domain with the Louisiana Scots and the Clan Wallace among the first international organisations to launch websites using the new domain ahead of the general launch on 23rd September.
New-borns get a domain name
The Dot Scot Registry has come up with a unique idea to publicise the .scot TLD by reserving a few domain names for any Scottish baby born on 15 July for free. In a press release on their website, the organisation said: ‘It’s taken nine years to get to this point – and we want to celebrate this “birth” in as many ways as possible. So, if you know someone who had a baby in Scotland on 15 July 2014, contact our press team, and we’ll secure their .scot for them … It’s our little way of saying “welcome to the world and the digital future for Scotland.”’.
In the archive
The UK Web Archiving Team are already collecting .scot websites as part of our annual domain crawl along with .london websites, another of the TLDs released by ICANN this year. A phased release of the .cymru and .wales TLDs was launched this month by the UK internet registry, Nominet, with general availability due in March 2015. These websites will also be picked up by the British Library’s annual domain crawl.
One final point to make is that .scot might be superseded if the Scottish referendum on independence succeeds and Scotland were to leave the United Kingdom as it would get its own two letter country code TLD. Let’s see…..
Nicola Bingham, Web Archivist, The British Library