By Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives at the British Library
The 30th September is National Sporting Heritage Day in the UK and to celebrate we will give you a quick overview of the UK Web Archive (UKWA) sporting activities in 2020. UKWA is made up of the six UK Legal Deposit Libraries, these are the British Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales, Bodleian Libraries, Cambridge University Library and Trinity College Dublin Library.
Sport is a subject that shapes and reflects society. As more publications about sport move to online only, preserving this cultural record through web archiving becomes paramount. To mark the occasion back in 2018 we published a blog post outlining the UKWA sports collection policies.
We have three collections that focus on sport that are actively curated throughout the year:
International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC)
As individual institutions the British Library and the National Library of Scotland are members of the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) and worked on building collaborative collections covering international events such as the Summer and Winter Olympic/Paralympic Games. 2020 marks ten years of building IIPC Olympic/Paralympic web archive collections. Since the formation of the IIPC Content Development Group (CDG) in 2015, there has been a consolidated effort to build collections both on and off the playing field. All of the IIPC collections are open access. The CDG planned to build a collection on the Tokyo 2020 Games. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic the Games were rescheduled for 2021 and so was CDG dedicated collection. However, some content around the 2020 event was included in the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) collection and there will be updates made to the National Olympic and Paralympic Committees collection this year.
Documenting the Olympics and Paralympics
Even though Tokyo 2020 was postponed until 2021, the symposium Documenting the Olympics & Paralympics, which was supposed to be a full day face-to-face event, went online. This was a collaboration between the web archive team based at the British Library, the International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC) at De Montfort University, and the British Society of Sports History (BSSH).
A broad mix of physical, digitised and born digital resources were covered in the presentations. You can listen back to an audio recording of this symposium on the Sport in History Podcast. The full abstracts and some of the PowerPoint slides are available on the British Library Research Repository.
Engaging with Web Archives Conference
The Engaging with Web Archives conference brought together practitioners and web archive researchers from around the world. There were three presentations on the programme that focused on UK Web Archive sports collections.
- Robert McNicol (Librarian, Kenneth Ritchie Wimbledon Library) discussed the collaboration on developing the Tennis section of the UK Web Archive Sports Collection.
- Helena Byrne (Curator of Web Archives, British Library) looked at tracing the popularity of annoying football phrases on the archived .uk web space from 1996-2013.
- Caio de Castro Mello Santos & Daniela Cotta de Azevedo Major (PhD students, School of Advanced Study, University of London) used the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games as a case study to analyse media events through the UK Web Archive.
A series of blog posts about the Engaging with Web Archives conference will be coming out in the next few weeks on the UK Web Archive blog.
Accessing the UK Web Archive
Under the Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations 2013, we can archive UK published websites but are only able to make the archived version available to people outside the Legal Deposit Libraries Reading Rooms, if the website owner has given permission.
Some of the websites in UKWA that have already had permission granted, include Heritage Quay, Pride Sports UK and WheelPower. Some examples of websites that are onsite-only access include the Fans Supporting Food Banks, Barnsley Yorkshire: Tour de France and The Women's Open.
As the content of UKWA has mixed access, the message ‘Viewable only on Library premises’ will appear under the title of the website if you need to visit a Legal Deposit Library to view the content. If there is no message underneath then the archived version of the website should be available on your personal device.
Get involved with preserving sports online with the UK Web Archive
We can’t curate the whole of the UK web on our own, we need your help to ensure that information, discussion and creative output related to sport are preserved for future generations. Anyone can suggest UK published websites to be included in the UK Web Archive by filling in our nominations form: https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/nominate