By Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives, The British Library
Hedley Sutton is the Team Leader, Asian & African Studies Reference Services at the British Library. He joined the Library as a cataloguer in what was then called the Bibliographic Services Division in 1982. Early in 1988 he moved to the India Office Library and Records Section (later renamed the Oriental & India Office Collections … then Asia, Pacific & Africa Collections … and now Asian & African Studies) as Serials and Acquisitions Librarian, before taking up his current role in the Reference Enquiry team in 1999.
In a previous blog post (2014) Hedley stated that:
“A Reference Team Leader spends most of their day answering queries sent in by e-mail, fax and letter or manning Reading Room enquiry desks. Some, however, also help with contributing to the selection of sites for inclusion in the UK Web Archive.”
In 2008, Hedley started to select websites for the web archive team and to date has selected over 6,000 targets. His initial focus was on UK published websites related to his own specialism of Asian and African studies, however he soon turned to selecting websites on a wide variety of topics that will be of interest to future researchers.
In Hedley’s free time, he likes to write limericks and when he started to come across websites that covered interesting niche subject areas he was inspired to write a series of blogs called If Websites Could Talk. In the first blog post (2016), Hedley brings many of the websites to life as they discuss amongst themselves “to which might be regarded as the most fantastic and extraordinary site of all”. In the second blog post (2017), the websites talked about “which one has the best claim to be recognized as the most extraordinary”. After a long break, the third blog post (2020), also tries to determine which website is the most extraordinary site of all.
You can view archived versions of the websites that Hedley has selected by searching on the UK Web Archive website: https://www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/
If you know of a website that you feel should be in the UK Web Archive, please nominate it.