By Carlos Lelkes-Rarugal, Assistant Web Archivist, British Library
There currently exists a plethora of digital platforms for all manner of online published works; YouTube itself has become more than just a platform for sharing videos, it has evolved into a platform for individuals and organisations to reach a global audience and convey powerful messages. Recently, a popular content creator on YouTube, Tom Scott, produced a short video helping to outline the purpose of Legal Deposit and by extension, the work being carried out by UKWA.
Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNVuIU6UUiM
Tom Scott’s video, titled "This library has every book ever published", is a concise and authentic glimpse into the work being done by the British Library, one of the six UK Legal Deposit Libraries. The video highlighted some of the technology being used that enables preservation at scale, which also highlighted the current efforts in web archiving. Dr Linda Arnold-Stratford (Head of Liaison and Governance for the Legal Deposit Libraries) stated, “The Library collection is around 170 million items. The vast majority of that is Legal Deposit”. Ian Cooke (Head of Contemporary British and Irish Publications) highlighted that with the expansion of Legal Deposit to include born-digital content that “the UK Web Archive has actually become one of the largest parts of the collection. Billions of files, about one and a half terabytes of data”.
At the time of writing, the video has had over 1.4 million views. In addition, as the video continued to gain momentum, something remarkable happened. UKWA started receiving an influx of email nominations from website owners and members of the public. This was unexpected and the volume of nominations that have since come through has been impressive and unprecedented.
The video has led to increased engagement with the public; with nominations representing an eclectic mix of websites. The comments on the video have been truly positive. We are grateful to Tom for highlighting our work, but we are also thankful and humbled that so many commentators have left encouraging messages, which are a joy to read. The British Library has the largest web archive team of all the Legal Deposit Libraries, but this is still a small team of three curators and four technical experts where we do everything in-house from curation to the technical side. Web archiving is a difficult task but we are hopeful that we can continue to develop the web archive by strengthening our ties to the community by bringing together our collective knowledge.
If you know of a UK website that should be included in the archive, please nominate it here: https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/info/nominate