THE BRITISH LIBRARY

UK Web Archive blog

9 posts categorized "Crowdsourcing"

03 November 2020

LGBTQ+ Lives Online: Introducing the Lead Curators

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By Steven Dryden, British Library LGBTQ+ Staff Network & Ash Green CILIP LGBTQ+ Network

In July 2020 the British Library, the UK Web Archive and CILIP LGBTQ+ Network relaunched the LGBTQ+ Lives Online web archive collection. We have received many nominations for new sites to be collected by the UK Web Archive and work has begun to re-tag many of the websites that have been collected since the UK Web Archive began collecting the UK web in 2005.

To mark two months since the project began, LGBTQ+ Lives Online leads Steven Dryden, of the British Library, and Ash Green, of CILIP LGBTQ+ Network write about the relevance of the World Wide Web to them as members of the LGBTQ+ community, and some of their collection highlights:

 

Steven he/him/his

StevenDryden
Steven Dryden

I first encountered the internet in Las Vegas. It was the summer of 1998, I was 17 and my family had migrated from Newcastle Upon Tyne to the western world’s party play pit in the Nevada desert. My friend, Lilian, was talking to someone in New York City about the band Depeche Mode through America Online (AOL).

Chat rooms were online spaces that allowed groups of people to join anonymously and had the options to talk and interact within a group or in private. Chatrooms quickly became a pivotal part of my small cohort of friends and I, the odd balls who didn’t quite fit, as we were forming our identities in those formative late teen years, and trying to find our place in the world.

Later the same year on October 12, 1998 Matthew Shepard would die. A gay student at the University of Wyoming, Shepherd was beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie on the night of October 6, 1998. AOL chatrooms formed the major part of how I found out about Shepherd, worked through my feelings about his murder, and was the first news story that I followed online.

The protections and general understanding of who the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are has undergone radical change in the 22 years since I first encountered the internet. I’m interested to see what survives online of the change in language relating to the community, and what evidence remains in the UK Web Archive of the online discussion. Some websites that interest me in these first months of the project include:

  • The Campaign for Homosexual Equality: an organisation which led the way to legal reform in the UK, following the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partial decriminalised homosexuality in England and Wales.

https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/en/archive/20130505124828/http://www.c-h-e.org.uk/

  • Around the Toilet: a community engaged art project exploring the accessibility and culture of toilets for the LGBTQ+ community

https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/en/archive/20180606164959/https://aroundthetoilet.wordpress.com/

  • Asexual Visibility and Education Network: founded in 2001 with two distinct goals: creating public acceptance and discussion of asexuality and facilitating the growth of an asexual community

https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/en/archive/20150226230020/http://www.asexuality.org/home/

 

Ash (they/them)

Ash Green
Ash Green

When I was studying for my BA Information and Library Management degree in the early 1990s, the internet and World Wide Web weren’t as high profile as they are now. I loved tech back then, and was into programming and creating databases as part of the degree. But I didn’t really understand what the lecturers were talking about when they mentioned the internet. At the time I had no idea how important it would be to my coming out just over 20 years later, and what a positive impact it would have.

Thinking about the lead up to my coming out in 2017, without access to sites and forums related to trans/gender non-conforming lives in particular, I doubt I would have come out at all. But when I decided to look for guidance online, I found a huge amount of information that was overwhelming at first, but eventually this helped me understood where I fitted into the world. They included medical sites; statements from WHO and other health organisations highlighting that being trans wasn’t a mental health issue; personal blogs and forums, talking about experiences and a variety of perspectives on what it means to be trans; finding out about non-binary, genderfluid, and genderqueer people experiences (I had no idea what these words meant); LGBTQ+ events; makeup and style tips; sites for face-to-face support groups and meetups, and sites for exhibitions such as the Museum of Transology and the Transworkers photography exhibition, which helped me understand that being trans is much broader than mainstream media would have the world believe.

Many sites were useful, but at the same time I came across quite a few that were more "Yes, this miracle herbal treatment really does change your hormones", and "You're only valid if you fit into trans box X or Y" that put my critical, digital literacy and research experience into practice. I also found supportive friends and allies, and I was able to share useful sites and sources of information I’d discovered to give them a better understanding of my experience. It’s important that these sites should be a part of the UK Web Archive LGBTQ+ Lives Online collection. Not only because they have a relevance to the UK Web Archive in general, but from a personal perspective I feel that if they had such an impact on helping me find where I fit into the world, how many other people have they also had a similar positive impact upon?

The sites I’ve chosen below from the UK Web Archive have all had a personal impact upon myself.

  • Museum of Transology: The UK’s most significant collection of objects representing trans, non-binary and intersex people’s lives. 

https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/en/archive/20201003091027/https://www.museumoftransology.com/

  • OutStories Bristol: Collecting and preserving the social history and recollections of LGBT+ people living in or associated with Bristol, England.

https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/en/archive/10000101000000/https://outstoriesbristol.org.uk/

  • Outline Surrey: Outline provides support to people with their sexuality and gender identity, including but not limited to the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans community of Surrey, primarily through a helpline, website and support groups.

https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/en/archive/20160107134238/http://www.outlinesurrey.org/

 

Get involved with preserving UK LGBTQ+ Lives 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, discussions, personal experiences and creative outputs related to the LGBTQ+ community 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

 

30 October 2020

The UK Web Archive creeps and crawls into the domain of Halloween with byte sized steps

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By Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives at the British Library

Spider web with one spider some small flies stuck in the web and a dragon fly hovering just above the web.
Creepy crawlers - British Library digitised image from page 79 of "The Child's Book of Poetry. A selection of poems, ballads and hymns"

 

Halloween and the UK Web Archive

From the start of October all the shops and supermarkets were filling up with Halloween costumes, decorations and lots of fun sized confectionery that are easy to share with some of the trick-o-treaters who might be knocking on your door. It is not clear yet how the coronavirus pandemic will impact any of the informal celebrations that take place every year. No doubt the UK Web Archive crawlers are picking up lots of Halloween and 5th of November themed webpages as part of the 2020 Domain Crawl.

Halloween in the UK is often perceived to be a cultural import from North America. A YouGov poll in 2019 showed that only 30% of people surveyed were planning to celebrate the occasion. This Shine graph shows how the popularity of the term on the archived .uk web has increased in popularity over time. 

Click on a point in the graph to see a sample of how the phrase is used.

 

Screenshot of the search for Halloween on the UK Web Archive Shine trends search

 

Halloween History

The tradition of Halloween actually goes back centuries and was widely celebrated by people in Ireland, Britain and northern France. During pagan times, the 1st of November was officially the start of winter, this season was  associated with death as the crops, wildlife and many people died due to the cold and lack of sunlight during this period. Because of this day’s association with death, it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth on the night of the 31st October. It was during the Reformation that the tradition of celebrating Halloween died out in Britain, especially in England

A recent YouGov poll has shown that Guy Fawkes Night is more popular in Great Britain than Halloween

 

The 5th of November

The commemoration on the 5th of November goes by many names, traditionally it was Guy Fawkes Night but is sometimes referred to as Bonfire Night or Fireworks Night. But there seems to be some regional differences in what term is used and how the night is celebrated. 

What do you call this commemoration?

This is a question we visited back in 2017 and as you can see in the Shine graph in more recent years the term Bonfire Night was used more widely on the archived .uk web. 

 

Screenshot of the search results for Bonfire Night, Guy Fawkes, Gun Powder Plot and Fireworks Night on the UK Web Archive Shine interface

 

Get creative with Halloween at the British Library

Our Assistant Web Archivist, Carlos Lelkes-Rarugal, has designed some short animated videos using recordings from the British Library Sound Archive and images from the Ghosts & Ghoulish Scenes, British Library Flickr. See these on the UK Web Archive, Digital Scholarship and the Sound Archive’s Wildlife Department Twitter accounts.

This and other sounds can be experienced in the Sound Archive at the British Library which has over 260,000 wildlife sound recordings from all over the world. You can hear a selection of some of these recordings on the British Library, Sound & Vision blog, the latest blog post Going Batty for Halloween, gives an overview of the history of bats and Halloween. 

The Digital Scholarship’s latest blog post, Mind Your Paws and Claws, encourages you to use these images and sounds for various creative projects. The Ghosts & Ghoulish Scenes Flickr Album was previously used in the Gothic Off the Map competition

 

Get involved with preserving the UK web

The UK Web Archive aims to archive, preserve and give access to the historic UK web space. We endeavour to include important aspects of British culture and events that shape society. 

Anyone can suggest UK websites to be included in the UK Web Archive by filling in our nominations form: www.webarchive.org.uk/nominate 

We have a Festivals collection, but are there any local Halloween or 5th of November events near you that haven’t been added yet? Equally, if these events have now been cancelled, we would like to add some of these online cancellation notifications to our collection Coronavirus (COVID-19) UK. Browse through what we have so far and please nominate more content!

 

21 October 2020

The UK Web Archive and Wimbledon; A Winning Combination

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By Robert McNicol, Kenneth Ritchie Wimbledon Library, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

 

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum Logo

 

Opened in 1977, the Kenneth Ritchie Wimbledon Library, part of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, is the most comprehensive collection of tennis publications in the world. We hold books, periodicals, programmes and other publications from more than 90 different countries.

As with everything at Wimbledon, we are always looking for ways to evolve and improve how we do things. That’s why we were delighted to team up with the UK Web Archive to put together a curated collection of tennis websites. The Tennis collection sits within the Sports Collection (Ball Sports Excluding Football) section of the UK Web Archive Sports Collection.

So far, we have added over 70 sites to the Tennis collection but ultimately the aim is to archive all UK-based tennis websites. This includes websites of tennis clubs, governing bodies and media, as well as the websites and social media feeds of individual players. We have already added the Twitter feeds of all world-ranked British players to the collection.

Social media archiving is an area we are particularly interested in and we have been experimenting with using Webrecorder to archive social media feeds to a level not possible on the UK Web Archive. We have recently conducted several trials, using both the manual and auto-pilot functions of Webrecorder to archive the Wimbledon Twitter and Instagram feeds. We have had mixed results from these pilot projects and would be interested in comparing notes with any other organisations that have used Webrecorder to perform social media archiving.

As well as social media feeds, we have been using Webrecorder to archive our own website, Wimbledon.com, which, as a particularly dynamic website, the UK Web Archive struggles to capture fully. Wimbledon.com is this year celebrating its 25th anniversary and by archiving it regularly we will be able to save the information contained in it for researchers of future generations. In the same way, we have also been trialling the archiving of our AELTC Intranet site, Wimbledon Insider.

We’ve greatly enjoyed our collaboration with the UK Web Archive so far and are very grateful for the web archiving advice that they have provided. We hope that our tennis expertise has also been of benefit to the UK Web Archive and the British Library. We look forward to working together for many years to come.

If you would like to nominate a tennis website to be archived, please fill in the public nomination form on the UK Web Archive website or get in touch with me at rmcn@aeltc.com, we’d love to hear from you.

You can watch Robert McNicol’s presentation on the EWA YouTube Channel.

 

30 September 2020

National Sporting Heritage Day 2020

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By Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives at the British Library

women playing soccer with a linesman in the foreground
Women playing soccer

 

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:

  1. Sports Collection
  2. Sport: Football 
  3. Sports: International Events

 

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. 

  1. Robert McNicol (Librarian, Kenneth Ritchie Wimbledon Library) discussed the collaboration on developing the Tennis section of the UK Web Archive Sports Collection. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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 

 

25 September 2020

The World of Food and the UK Web Archive

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By Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives at the British Library

 

Assorted sliced fruits in white ceramic bowl surrounded by more sliced fruits and some small muffins
A variety of food

 

Food is a subject that transcends culture, politics and leisure practices. Thus, food has always been a key part of the UK Web Archive (UKWA) since it was established in 2005. 

 

Recipes, restaurant menus, food blogs, online reviews are just the start of food related online material that UKWA collects. Even protest and campaigning can be food related, for instance, this summer, footballer Marcus Rashford highlighted the issue of child poverty and the lack of access to food, especially during the school holidays. 

 

For the last three years the British Library has been running a series of events around food. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's Food Season moved online with a series of talks over the autumn period. 

 

The Food Season celebrates the British Library’s extensive food-related collections and explores the politics, pleasures and history of food. UKWA, which is a partnership of the six UK Legal Deposit Libraries, including the British Library, also has an extensive collection of food related websites. 

 

Food collections

In 2017, the Food Archive collection was established. This collection covers the following topics:

There are currently 333 websites or web pages in this collection. Some of the websites selected include Eat Like a Girl, the Good Grub Club and the Veggies Catering Campaign. Why not have a browse through the collection and nominate your favourite UK published food sites or restaurant websites to be included in the collection? Anyone can nominate a website by following this link: https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/info/nominate 

 

Even though there is a dedicated collection about food, it also features as a subsection in a number of other collections. ‘Food and Drink’ is a subsection in both the Festivals and Online Enthusiast Communities in the UK collections. In addition, individual food websites appear in several other collections. Websites related to food activism appear in both the Political Action and Communication collection as well as the (soccer) fan subsection of the Sport: Football Collection, as numerous supporters clubs have organised to support their local food banks. 

 

Social media is a very popular way to share food and micro-reviews of eateries, however, this is often challenging for us to archive. At present, Twitter is the only social media platform that we archive on a regular basis but these captures are by no means comprehensive. We have experimented with other methods of archiving social media but this is on a selective basis.

 

How can you access these archived websites?

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. The UK Legal Deposit Libraries are the British Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales, Bodleian Libraries, Cambridge University Library and Trinity College Dublin Library.  

 

Some of the websites  in UKWA that have already had permission granted, these include the Cake Fest Edinburgh, the Lancashire Pork Pie Appreciation Society and the Food Research Collaboration. Some examples of websites that are onsite-only access include the Biscuit Appreciation Society, the UK Menu Archive and Fans Supporting Food Banks.

 

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.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the reading rooms were closed for a number of weeks but are starting to reopen. This blog post gives an overview of opening hours and how to book a visit at the six UK Legal Deposit Libraries:

https://blogs.bl.uk/webarchive/2020/09/ukwa-available-in-reading-rooms-again.html 

 

We would especially like to see more food and drink nominations that reflect the multicultural nature of the UK and the many diaspora communities based here. Browse through what we have so far and please nominate more content here:

https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/info/nominate 

 

25 August 2020

Cats vs Dogs on the Archived Web

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 By Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives at the British Library

 

Cats and dogs, two of the most popular pets in the world, have international days of celebration in August. The 8th August is International Cat Day and the 26th August is International Dog Day. 

 

How popular are cats and dogs on the archived web?

 

Cats vs Dogs
Screenshot of the search results on Shine for Cat and Dog

 

One way to answer this question is to use the Shine Trends feature. Shine was developed as part of the Big UK Data Arts and Humanities project funded by the AHRC. The data was acquired by JISC from the Internet Archive and includes all .uk websites in the Internet Archive web collection crawled between 1996 and April 2013. The collection comprises over 3.5 billion items (URLs, images and other documents) and has been full-text indexed by the UK Web Archive. Every word of every website in the collection can be searched for and analysed.

 

Taking the Shine graph at face value, overall it would seem that cats are more popular on the archived .uk domain than dogs.

 

The graph shows the percentage of resources archived for each year. In some cases the largest peak on the graph doesn’t necessarily mean the most mentions for your search; this could be attributed to a larger amount of data archived for that particular year. However, when it comes to ‘Cats vs Dogs’, the largest peak for ‘Cat’ is the most popular year while the most popular year for ‘Dog’ is slightly below the peak in the graph.  In 2005, there were almost 14.2 million mentions of ‘cat’ out of 331 million resources archived. While in 2012, there were almost 13 million mentions of ‘Dog’ out of 464 million resources archived that year.

It is not possible to view every archived resource attributed to the generated stats, but you can click on markers along the plotted graph and you will be supplied with a random sample of matching records for that year. The sample displays a sentence where the term appears, as well as a link out to the Internet Archive so that you can review the archived website.

When we review the random sample for ‘Cat’ generated for 2005, we can see that very few of the references are to our furry friends; instead, the word “Cat” mostly refers to an abbreviation for catalogue (for shopping online). This reflects a lot of the changes in how the web is used and online shopping became more popular during this period. By looking through some of the other samples we can see the use of the term ‘CAT’ as an acronym for various different systems.

On the other hand, when we look at the sample results for ‘Dog’ in 2012, most of the results are about the animal or related products such as dog food and dog accessories.

 

Possible big data project

 

After reviewing the use of the term ‘Cat’ and ‘Dog’ can we really say that the animal-related variation is the most popular on the archived .uk domain?

A possible way to truly determine which family pet is the most popular would be through an in depth analysis of the .UK domain. Something similar to the project, ‘Mining the UK Web Archive for Semantic Change Detection’ run by the Alan Turing Institute, would provide more insight into which animal is more popular in this dataset. 

This project identified words whose meaning has changed over time on the archived web. For example, when the word ‘tweet’ stopped being commonly referred to as the sound a bird makes and used more often to describe the message being sent through the social media platform Twitter.

Pierpaolo Basile, a visiting researcher at the Alan Turing Institute, used the same data that is behind Shine in his research project ‘Detecting semantic shift in large corpora by exploiting temporal random indexing’. You can watch a recording of a presentation about this research on the Alan Turing Institute YouTube channel.

 

What cats and dogs websites are in the UK Web Archive?

 

The general UK Web Archive and a number of curated collections on the Topics and Themes page of the website feature many animal-related websites, and a lot of these focus on cats and dogs. Although archiving social media is very challenging, we do have a wide selection of Twitter accounts in the archive. These include many cat persona profiles; from libraries to political cats. Some of the political cats included in the archive are Larry the Cat from 10 Downing Street and Palmerston from the Foreign Office. We haven’t come across any similar UK dog persona profiles so if you know of any please nominate them to be included in the UK Web Archive. However, there are other Twitter profiles that collect images of dogs such as Non-League Dogs. This profile is included in both the soccer section of our Sport: Football collection as well as our Online Enthusiast Communities in the UK collection.

Animal welfare websites are also well represented in our UK General Election series of collections dating from 2005 to 2019, as many publish political manifestos during the election period.

As mentioned in the International Owl Awareness Day blog post, the Online Enthusiast Communities in the UK curated collection has an Animal Related Hobbies subsection. Here you can find a number of cat and dog-related sites but we know there are many more out there. Why not nominate your favourite websites and forums?

 

How can you access these archived websites?

 

Under the Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations 2013, we can archive UK websites but we are only able to make them 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 Library and Trinity College Dublin Library.  Some of the sites in the collection have already had permission granted, such as the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Cats Protection and Library Cat. Some examples of websites that are onsite-only access include Dogs Trust, Dog Forum and Purrs In Our Hearts Forum.

 

As the content of the UK Web Archive has mixed access, the message ‘Viewable only on Library premises’ will appear under the title 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 cats and dogs online with the UK Web Archive

 

The UK Web Archive aims to archive, preserve and give access to the UK web space. We endeavour to include important aspects of British culture and events that shape society. Animals and especially pets in the UK are an important aspect of our collective national culture and are represented in several collections across the UK Legal Deposit Libraries, including the UK Web Archive.

 

We can’t however, curate the whole of the UK Web on our own, we need your help to ensure that information, discussion and creative output on this subject are preserved for future generations. Anyone can suggest UK websites to be included in the UK Web Archive by filling in our nominations form: https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/nominate

 

Browse through what we have so far and please nominate more content!

 

04 August 2020

Twit twoo: International Owl Awareness Day 2020

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By Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives, The British Library
 
 
 
An illustration of four owls perched on a branch with the moonlight behind them
British Library digitised image from page 271 of "Madeline Power [A novel] https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary/11121066504

 

The 4th of August is International Owl Awareness Day. This is the perfect time to reflect on owl related content in the UK Web Archive. 

There are five native species of owls’ resident year-round in the UK, namely the Tawny Owl, Barn Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl and Little Owl. Also, the Snowy Owl is an is an occasional winter visitor to the Outer Hebrides, Shetland and the Cairngorms in Scotland.

Owls online

We were wondering, out of these six owl species, which one is the most popular on the archived .uk domain?

 

UK Owl Species Shine Trends
A graph showing how many mentions the six owl species have on the archived .uk web

 

In order to answer this question, the Shine graph may prove useful. Shine was developed as part of the Big UK Data Arts and Humanities project funded by the AHRC. The data was acquired by JISC from the Internet Archive and includes all .uk websites in the Internet Archive web collection crawled between 1996 and April 2013. The collection comprises over 3.5 billion items (URLs, images and other documents) and has been full-text indexed by the UK Web Archive. Every word of every website in the collection can be searched for and analysed.

The most popular owl species referenced in the Shine dataset is the Barn Owl. Despite the curve in the graph being at its peak in 2011, the most popular year for the Barn Owl was 2012. This is because the graph shows the percentage of resources archived for each year and some years have more resources than others. In 2011 there were 66,034 of 288,809,412 archived resources that mention Barn Owl, while in 2012 there were 94,990 of 463,367,189 resources. These numbers are too big to review manually but by clicking at a single point on the graph, Shine will generate a random sample of up to 100 references to the search term. The sample displays a sentence were the term appears, as well as a link out to the Internet Archive so that you can review the archived website.

 

Get creative with owls at the British Library

Video created by Carlos Lelkes-Rarugal, using Tawny Owl hoots recorded by Richard Margoschis in Gloucestershire, England (BL ref 09647). British Library digitised image from page 272 of "The Works of Alfred Tennyson, etc" 

 

Curious about what some of these owls’ sound like? Our Assistant Web Archivist, Carlos Lelkes-Rarugal, designed some short animated videos using recordings from the British Library Sound Archive and images from the British Library Flickr account. You can view these on the UK Web Archive, Digital Scholarship and the Sound Archive’s Wildlife Department Twitter accounts.

The title for this blog post was inspired by the sound made by the Tawny Owl. This and other sounds can be experienced in the Sound Archive at the British Library which has over 2,500 recordings of owls from all over the world. You can hear a selection of some these recordings on the British Library, Sound & Vision blog.

The Digital Scholarship team have also put together a useful album of digitised illustrations of owls on the British Library Flickr account. Their latest blog post encourages you to use these images for various creative projects.

 

Get involved with preserving owls online with the UK Web Archive

The UK Web Archive aims to archive, preserve and give access to the UK web space. We endeavour to include important aspects of British culture and events that shape society. The biodiversity of the UK is an important aspect of our collective national culture and is represented in several British Library collections including the UK Web Archive.

We can’t however, curate the whole of the UK Web on our own, we need your help to ensure that information, discussion and creative output on this subject are preserved for future generations.

Anyone can suggest UK websites to be included in the UK Web Archive by filling in our nominations form: https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/nominate

We already have an Online Enthusiast Communities in the UK curated collection that features some owl related websites in the Animal related hobbies subsection. Browse through what we have so far and please nominate more content!

 

01 March 2012

A Note on Nominations

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Did you know that anyone can nominate websites for the UK Web Archive? We're exploring different ways to make it easier for people to nominate websites.

For several years now we've had a public nominations form on our website. However, we know that filling in a form can be a little daunting sometimes, even when it's only small and especially if you've not much time. So for the past few weeks we've been looking into additional options for accepting or submitting nominations.

Yesterday, we ran a small experiment using Twitter and invited followers to simply tweet the details of their nomination to @ukwebarchive. Our reasoning was simple: 

  1. It's very, very easy to share a link on Twitter
  2. So many people and organisations are already on Twitter and regularly share links with their followers
  3. It's fairly easy for us to monitor nominations coming in this way

We tweeted several times throughout the day about this and are pleased with the response. We had a small number of nominations on the day and several ReTweets, reaching a wider audience that our followers alone. It will be interesting to see if nominations continue to be tweeted when we aren't actively encouraging them. We need to evaluate the day in more detail, particularly with regards to how (and when) we respond, the types of nominations we receive, and how we can factor this into our current workflow. At the moment though, it's certainly worth more investigation.

We've also thinking about producing a browser plug-in that would  automatically populate a small number of fields with details of the site people are visiting, and submit them directly to us as a packaged nomination. This needs further thought, but we'd be interested to hear from people who'd like to use a plug-in like this. 

Finally, we're planning to overhaul the nominations form on the UK Web Archive website. This will make sure we're only asking people for information we really need, and which will help us to better assess their nomination.

So why not drop us a line, or a tweet, with your nomination? Alternatively, if you have any other ideas on how you'd like to nominate sites, why not leave a comment below?  We're always happy to hear new suggestions.