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

Introduction

News and views from the British Library’s web archiving team and guests. Posts about the public UK Web Archive, and since April 2013, about web archiving as part as non-print legal deposit. Editor-in-chief: Jason Webber. Read more

31 July 2020

LGBTQ+ Lives Online

 
 A white banner with the LGBTQ+ flag colours painted on with the text - love is love
Photo by 42 North from Pexels

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

 

When the internet first rose to prominence in the late 1990s, one of the primary modes of communicating with others was through internet chat rooms and forums. Suddenly, isolated people all over the world with a personal computer and internet access could communicate with others ‘like them’.

By using the term ‘like them’ we acknowledge that there is some form of social oppression which makes a person, perhaps alone in a rural community, feel unable to be themselves - to know anything about themselves at all. It is perhaps partly for the need to feel more connected with other people ‘like them’ that LGBTQ+ people adapted to online community-building quickly. Now, as we have been living online for over 25 years, it seems pertinent to consider what traces of early digital lives survive, and how we can begin to make sense of it. What survives of digital campaigns to legalise the age of consent for all sexualities in the UK (2001), gain recognition and protections of members of the trans community (Gender Recognition Act 2004) or the battle for marriage equality in the UK (England and Wales, 2013, Scotland 2014, Northern Ireland 2019)? As well as historical content such as this, we must also ensure we are ready and able to curate current and future online discussions and websites surrounding LGBTQ+ lives as well.

Part of this process has already begun. Through the UK Web Archive, the British Library along with the other five UK Legal Deposit Libraries, has been able to run an annual domain crawl of the UK web since April 2013, after the implementation of Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations. Prior to this websites were archived on a permissions basis since January 2005. Through the Shine interface you can search the JISC UK Web Domain Dataset (1996-2013), this holds all the .uk websites archived by the Internet Archive from 1996 to April 2013. As a next step, the British Library and Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) LGBTQ+ Network are pleased to work collaboratively and develop LGBTQ+ Lives Online. This project will tag and subject categorise relevant websites in the UK Web Archive, and expand the scope of websites we collect for future generations. We look forward to sharing with you over the coming months the work that is being undertaken and how you can contribute.

CILIP LGBTQ+ Network members are pleased to be working collaboratively with the British Library and the UK Web Archive on this project, and recognise the historical value and importance of developing the LGBTQ+ Lives Online web archive.

The aim of the UK Web Archive is to collect content published on the UK web that reflects all aspects of life in the UK. This includes important aspects of British culture and events that shape society. The LGBTQ+ Lives Online collection reflects the important role this community plays in British society. The UK Web Archive is delighted to collaborate with the British Library LGBTQ+ Staff Network and the CILIP LGBTQ+ Network to build on the existing LGBTQ+ collection. Although there is a dedicated collection about the LGBTQ+ community, many of the websites tagged in this collection also intersect with other collections in the archive such as our various sports collections, Political Action and Communication and Oral History in the UK.

 

Get Involved:

CILIP LGBTQ+ Network, the British Library and the UK Web Archive welcome nominations for UK websites which should be included in the LGBTQ+ Lives Online.

Nominations can be made via this form: https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/nominate

 

Keep an eye on the CILIP LGBTQ+ Network Twitter as well as the UK Web Archive blog and Twitter account for more updates on the LGBTQ+ Lives Online collection.

 

29 July 2020

15 Years of UKWA - Looking back at our first collections

By Jason Webber, Web Archive Engagement Manager, The British Library

 

This blog follows on from ‘15 Years of the UK Web Archive - The Early Years’.

2020 marks fifteen years since  the UK Web Archive (UKWA) started archiving UK published  websites. In this blog I’ll be looking at the first curated collections that were made and some of the differences in web archiving from then until now.

In 2005, when the British Library (as part of the UK Web Archive Consortium (UKWAC)) started collecting websites, the techniques and procedures were still being pioneered. It was identified early on that grouping captured websites into collections would be useful for future researchers. Read about a few of our first.

 

Indian Ocean Tsunami 

On Boxing day 2004, a huge earthquake and subsequent Tsunami caused severe destruction and loss of life in many areas around the Indian Ocean. Almost immediately afterwards a huge international relief effort was underway that included several UK based efforts. This catastrophic event happened just at the point that UKWAC started archiving websites and curators quickly decided that this deserved to be reflected in the archive . Selection and archiving took place between January and March 2005. It resulted in a small collection of websites representing news articles, charities and the response from travel companies.

This first collection demonstrated the ability of web archives to collect digital material around key events as they happened. Indian Ocean Tsunami collection

 

Collection_2435_indianoceantsunami
Indian Ocean

 

UK General Election 2005
In addition to ‘rapid response’ events, UKWA aims to collect important national events such as elections. 2005 was a period before fixed term elections and the curation team had only a matter of weeks to organise a plan between the government calling the election and it taking place. The way that candidates promoted themselves was different in 2005 than they are now. Only some had their own websites, Facebook was not yet widespread and Twitter didn’t yet exist. It is a fascinating contrast between the 2005 UK General Election and the last one in 2019 both in number (148 v 2,234) and in the range and breadth of the collection.

 

View of Westminster Bridge and the Palace of Westminster from the opposite side if the River Thames

 

Blogs
We all now know what a blog is, right? In 2005 though, it was a relatively new way for people to self publish on the web. It was so new that when the collection was first made we felt the need to explain what one was and that it was a shortening of ‘web log’.

Since then, of course, blogs have been a widespread form of self expression and creativity. They cover every imaginable subject from politics to satire, local history to personal history and many more. This collection contains over 1000 blogs, many of which are no longer available. See what you can find in the Blogs collection.

 

Image of word tiles spelling the word blog

 

Selective curation

Since 2013, thanks to the Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations, the UK Web Archive is able to archive any UK published website. Prior to 2013, however, curators had to obtain permission from the website owner before any archiving  could take place. UKWA has always tried to collect a representative sample of the UK web which can include a very wide range of topics and opinions. We have always tried to be clear that selection is not endorsement, either of views or of quality. Each item in the collection is rich in its own way.

 

100+ curated collections and counting

Since these first collections in 2005, the number of collections has grown to over 100.  See all of our curated collections here.

We have continued to respond to important events with ‘rapid response’ collections such as the Zika Virus outbreak of 2016-2017 and the death of Margaret Thatcher in 2013. We have also continued to collect political events such as General elections, Scottish and Welsh Parliamentary elections and several key referendums such as the EU referendum. We also try to represent all parts of the UK from the FTSE100 to the lives and hobbies of the nation in ‘Online enthusiasts’.

 

24 June 2020

Our new Science web archive collection

 
By Philip Eagle, Subject Librarian - Science, Technology and Medicine at The British Library
 
 
Air pump CC0
A Philosopher Shewing an Experiment on the Air Pump, 1769 by Valentine Green

 

Introduction

We have just activated our new web archive collection on science in the UK. One of the British Library's objectives as an institution as a whole is to increase our profile and level of service to the science community. In pursuit of this aim we are curating a web archive collection in collaboration with the UK legal deposit libraries. We have some collections already on science related subjects such as the late Stephen Hawking and science at Cambridge University, but not science as a whole.

 

Collection scope

We have interpreted "science" widely to include engineering and communications, but not IT, as that already has a collection. Our collection is arranged according to the standard disciplines such as biology, chemistry, engineering, earth sciences and physics, and then subdivided according to their common divisions, based on the treatment of science in the Universal Decimal Classification.

The collection has a wide range of types of site. We have tried to be fairly exhaustive on active UK science-related blogs, learned societies, charities, pressure groups, and museums. Because of the sheer number of university departments in the UK, we have not been able to cover them all. Instead we have selected the departments that did best in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and then taken a random sample to make sure that our collection properly reflects the whole world of academic science in the UK. We are also adding science-related Twitter accounts. Social media is generally difficult to archive due to its proprietary nature, but Twitter is open source so we can archive this more easily.

 

Access

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. Some of the sites in the collection have already had permission granted, such as the Hunterian Society, Dame Athene Donald’s blog, and the Royal College of Anaesthetists. Some others who have not given permission include Science Sparks, the Wellcome Collection, and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. The Web Archive page will tell you whether any archived site is only viewable from a library, anything with no statement can be viewed on the public web.


Get involved

As ever, if you have a site to nominate that has been left out, you can tell us by filling in our public nomination form: https://www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/info/nominate