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

3 posts from December 2022

12 December 2022

Examining sports history through digitised & born digital resources

By Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives, The British Library

The Irish Sporting Lives workshop and symposium took place at the Ulster University campus in Belfast from 11-12 November 2022. Day one took the form of a half day workshop aimed at  PhD/ECR researchers. It focused both on imparting knowledge about how to research historical figures and how to write sporting biographies. There were three sessions in the workshop:

  1. Margaret Roberts: It’s not what you research… it’s the way that you research it: that’s what gets results
  2. Helena Byrne: Examining sports history through digitised and born digital resources
  3. Turlough O’Riordan & Terry Clavin: Writing sporting lives

The slide deck and speaker notes on ‘Examining sports history through digitised and born digital resources’ are now available in the British Library Shared Research Repository under a CC BY 4.0 Attribution licence. 

The running time for this session was 70 minutes, therefore, many of the slides were discussed only briefly to allow more time for the activity phase of the workshop. The slides accompanying the notes can be edited by anyone to suit different session lengths. If more time is available, more time can be spent on exploring the different options discussed in the slides. As there was limited time in this workshop, no live demos were given during the presentation. The workshop focused on the subject of sport, but it could be adapted to suit any subject area. 

For more general web archiving training materials at a beginner level, please see the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) Training Materials page:  

The agenda for this session covered: 

  • Warm Up Activity
  • Digital Resources
  • Digitised Newspapers
  • Web Archives
  • Hackathon – Preserve Irish sporting heritage online. 
  • Wrap Up Activity

The session mostly focused on using web archives and only briefly covered digitised newspapers because this was covered in more depth in the first session led by Margaret Roberts.

What sport(s) do you study - word cloud

The warm-up activity collected anonymous information on what type of academic background the workshop participants were from, what their general level of awareness of web archives were, and in particular their awareness of the UK Web Archive. Participation in this activity was optional and not all participants responded to every question. Most of the participants came from a history background while others were from subjects including English Literature, Law, Sports Management or Independent Researchers who research a wide variety of sports. 

There were twelve responses to the question ‘Do you understand the difference between the terms digitised and born digital?’. Six respondents replied ‘yes’, while three said ‘no’ and three said ‘not sure’. In the ‘Digital Resources’ section of the presentation, the difference between these two terms was clarified during the presentation. More in depth user studies on web archive research conducted by Healy et. al. (2022) and Costea (2018) have highlighted that there is often confusion amongst researchers on the difference between a digital library/digital archive, a database and a web archive.

There were thirteen responses to the question ‘Have you ever used a web archive?’. Six respondents replied 'yes', while four said ’no’ and three said ‘not sure’. There were twelve responses to the question ‘Have you ever used the UK Web Archive?’. Four respondents replied ‘yes’, while six said ‘no’ and two said ‘not sure’.

DIY Web Archiving Strategies - logos of several web archiving companies

The session highlighted different ways that the researchers could use DIY web archiving techniques to mitigate against the impact link rot and content drift could have on their research. 

In the hackathon part of the session, participants were tasked to use some of the DIY web archiving strategies discussed to preserve the Irish sporting heritage. Participants could choose from  two options: 

  1. Add online content used in your research to the relevant web archives. 
  2. Review what web content has already been preserved from your area of study in the UK Web Archive Sports Collections. Then select online content from the web to nominate to the UK Web Archive.

Although there was approximately 25 minutes available at the end of this presentation for this activity, it would really need more time and if possible pre-workshop preparation to get maximum results for this activity. 

To wrap up this session, participants were asked two questions about how likely they were to use web archives in their research. Firstly, on a scale of 1 meaning very unlikely to 5 very likely, participants were asked ‘How likely are you to use a web archive as a resource for your research?’. Seven participants answered this question and the aggregated response was 4.4. Secondly, eight participants responded to the question ‘How likely are you to save content you view online in a web archive?’. This was also a scale question with 1 meaning very unlikely to 5 very likely, and the aggregated response was 3.4. 

Although the workshop elicited a small sample of results, they show that there is an interest in using web archives in academic research, not just as a reference source but as a way for managing online citations in the field of sports studies. It would be beneficial to the research community if those teaching research method classes could incorporate web archive training into their classes. The training materials published through the British Library Shared Research Repository can be adapted to suit any subject area.


Healy, S., Byrne, H., Schmid, K., Bingham, N., Holownia, O., Kurzmeier, M., & Jansma, R. (2022). Skills, Tools, and Knowledge Ecologies in Web Archive Research. WARCnet Special Report. Aarhus, Denmark: WARCnet,    

Costea, M.-D. (2018). Report on the Scholarly Use of Web Archives. Aarhus, Denmark: NetLab. Retrieved 2019-08-30, from   

07 December 2022

Pride and Visibility in the LGBTQ+ Lives Online Collection

By Ash Green, CLIP LGBTQ+ Network, and Goldsmith University

The LGBTQ+ Lives Online UK Web Archive collection currently holds over 600 sites, web pages, blogs etc focused on the LGBTQ+ experience of people in the UK. Community and the coming together of individuals is a key aspect of the LGBTQ+ experience, and this is particularly reflected in sites acting as networks; focused on Pride events; and visibility and remembrance days such as Bi Visibility Day, Lesbian Visibility Week, Trans Day of Remembrance, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. These events, networks and days are there to support the community; remind others outside the community we are part of, that we exist; that we celebrate who we are; that the need to highlight and address inequalities continues to remain important despite LGBTQ+ people having existed for millennia.

Pride march with rainbow flags
Gotta Be Worth It from Pexels

An example of sites in the UK Web Archive under some of these banners include: LGBT Mummies (aiming to support LGBT+ women & people globally on the path to motherhood or parenthood); London Gaymers (a safe place for the LGBT gaming community in London and across the UK to connect with like minded individuals); African Rainbow Family (a non-for-profit charitable organisation that support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender intersexual and queer (LGBTIQ) people of African heritage and the wider Black Asian Minority Ethnic groups); Pride Sports (a focus on increasing participation in sport by lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people as well as the wider community). As you can see from the examples given, many of the informal networks are focused on where other aspects of an individual’s life overlaps with being an LGBTQ+ person.

We also have Pride sites archived within the collection, including both local (Pride In Surrey , Glasgow’s Mardi Gla , York Pride) and nationwide (LGBTQYMRU ) events. Before the pandemic they were mainly face-to-face events, but between 2020 and 2022, there was an increase in online events as many sought to keep LGBTQ+ people connected in a safe way.

We would like to build the collection of UK sites focused around Pride and awareness/visibility days. We don’t limit our collection of sites to big organisations only – as we have said before, all LGBTQ+ content is welcome, including personal content if it is published in the UK. And even though we would like to develop the areas of the collection highlighted above, we are also still happy to receive submissions around any aspects of LGBTQ+ Lives Online. So, if you know of any online content you think we should be archiving within this collection please nominate it here.

Under the Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations 2013, the UKWA 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. The UK Legal Deposit Libraries are the British Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales, Bodleian Libraries, Cambridge University Libraries and Trinity College Dublin Library. If you’re curious about what is in the LGBTQ+ collection you can browse through it here.

01 December 2022

History on the move: Curating a collection on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

By Daniela Major, PhD Student, School of Advanced Studies, University of London

Note: This blog post was written before the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Jubilee collection has documented the end of an extraordinary reign and will hopefully serve as a basis for future researchers to understand this historical moment.

Before I started my placement at the UK Web Archive, my project idea was to build a collection about the History of London. I had thought it would give me an opportunity to delve into history blogs and history websites, and to explore how people interpret historical events; it was, however, a Jubilee year, and the opportunity came up instead to curate a collection about this very modern event, which would, moreover, unfold as I built the collection.

Queen's Platinum Jubilee 2022 logo in english and welsh

The particular challenges of this exercise were very attractive to someone who still considers herself an historian. It is fairly straightforward to build a collection about events that have gone past and that have been analysed by countless historians. It is a very different thing to curate a collection about events that are happening, whose consequences remain unknown. In this sense, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was a great opportunity because in many ways Queen Elizabeth II already belongs to History. It is entirely possible to historicise her existence and her years in power. It is also possible to use her reign as a way to look into the making of modern Britain and modern Europe, as she was present through many key historical moments in the last 70 years.

A priority which was defined early on was representing different parts of the UK, rather than focusing only on the big cities. We looked into how towns, villages and cities were celebrating the Jubilee, what events they were organizing, where street parties would take place and how councils involved local communities in the celebrations. From a geographical representation came the necessity to represent different voices and opinions, both from the UK and the Commonwealth. It was vital the collection didn’t turn out to be laudatory. Future researchers would be interested in knowing whether there was resistance to the monarchy and whether consensus was real or fabricated.

As with so many questions in History, the answer is both yes and yes. Yes, there is resistance, but yes there is genuine and even widespread appreciation for the Queen.

For the majority of my academic career, I have looked to the past to study it. Historians are used to question the archives. We have to question the silences and the omissions, we have to remember who created records, who kept them, and why. Curating this collection placed me firmly on the other side of these interrogations. I was the one deciding what should go into the collection, what should be kept for posterity. The web is vast, content is being produced every minute of every hour. It is not conceivable to include everything. The responsibility is enormous, but it made me all the more aware of the need to hear different sides, so as to not exclude voices which have often been silenced in the past.

The Web affords researchers the possibility to glimpse into facets of life and points of view that many previous historical records have omitted. It is a rich source with enormous democratic potential, and one which will become even more essential in the years to come; it must be protected and looked after. The work that web archivists do, and that I have been privileged enough to take part in, is vital to safeguard the history of the present and the future.

View the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, 2022 collection

Also the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, 2012 collection 

Queen's platinum jubilee collection screenshot