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

10 posts categorized "Modern history"

08 August 2022

Cats on the web and in the web archive

By Jason Webber, Web Archive Engagement Manager, British Library

Domestic cats have featured in human life for thousands of years. They can make an incredible impact on many of our lives and even if you don’t have one, you may have enjoyed watching, reading or listening about them online. Have you watched a ‘funny cat’ video, laughed at ‘Grumpy cat’ or simply enjoyed a colleague’s pet making an appearance in a work video call?

It seems appropriate , therefore, on International Cat day, to show a few things ‘cat’ that we have in the archive.

Larry the No.10 Cat - Political scrapbook

Screenshot of the Political Scrapbook website with an article about Larry the Downing street cat

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

Pictures of cats for adoption on the battersea dogs and cats home website

WW1 cats - Durham at War website

Screenshot of the Durham at War website - ww1 cats

Cat Behaviour - Cat Protection website

Screenshot of the Cat behaviour page on the cat Protection website

Teapots, Teapots, Teapots - Cheshire Cats

Screenshot of the Teapots website showing a cheshire cat teapot

Pi-powered cat feeder

Screenshot of Pi-powered cat feeder website

If you haven't had enough cat chat, take a look at our 2020 blog - Cats v Dogs on the archived web.

Fan of dogs, their day is on the 26th August.

29 June 2022

What content should I nominate on the UEFA Women’s Euro to the UK Web Archive?

By Helena Byrne, Curator of Web Archives, British Library

a blue banner image with the UK Web Archive, British Library, Inspired by England 2022 and the National Football Museum. A female football player kicking a ball and the text, Can you help us preserve football history? We are collecting websites about the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022. Nominate a website for us to archive:

The UEFA Women's Euro 2022 competition is taking place across England from July 6 to July 31, 2022. We are collecting websites about the 2022 UEFA Women’s EURO from around the UK. You can view the collection here: 

This blog post runs through some examples of the type of content you might like to nominate to the collection. 

We archive websites: 1. That are on a .uk or other UK geographic top-level domain such as .scot or .cymru. 2. That are published in the UK.  We do not archive: 1.Online Sound or Video platforms, in which audio-visual material is the predominant content. 2. Private Intranets and Emails. 3. Personal data in social networking sites or websites only available to restricted groups.

We archive as much openly available online content that we can identify as being published in the UK. Archiving is carried out through a mix of automated processes such as an annual domain crawl or through manual selection by the UK Web Archive teams, as well as the public nomination form.

UEFA Women’s Euro England 2022
For the UEFA Women’s Euro England 2022 we want content that specifically refers to the tournament. Some websites might only have a subsection or even just one page dedicated to the tournament so you can nominate that specific URL. 

We add the following type of web content to the collection:

  1. Full website
  2. Subsection of a website
  3. Individual page from a website
  4. Event page
  5. Twitter accounts

Unfortunately due to technical challenges, the only social media content we can successfully archive is Twitter. If you know of any high-profile Twitter accounts -  that aren’t personal accounts of ordinary people - then please nominate them. 

Examples of some website content we have added so far include:

Full website
Have you seen any new websites set up just for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament? Most websites will, at most, just have a dedicated subsection or page for the tournament. Some websites such as the official sponsor, Visa, highlight the tournament on their home page in the run-up to and during the tournament. This is why we have added the whole website to the collection, as it is easy for the user to navigate from the home page of the archived website during the tournament to the dedicated section for the tournament. 

Subsection of a website
The FA website has a subsection dedicated to UEFA Women’s Euro 2022. The earliest captures of this subsection are from July 2020 which you can view here: 

a screenshot of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 subsection of the FA website from July 26 2020. The text reads Women’s Euro set for 2022. The UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 in England is postponed until the summer of 2022]

Link to archived website: 

Individual page from a website
In some cases there is just one page on a website relevant to the collection subject. When thinking about women’s football, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) doesn’t always come top of the list of potential websites. However, they have partnered with the FA to ‘engage fans in a range of musical opportunities and public events celebrating the history, ethos and future of women’s football’. What other websites have you seen that have posted an article about the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament? 

You can listen back to the archived versions of the anthems on the RPO website here: 

Event pages:
There are lots of events going on around the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, these range from official events, fan-led events or venues organising their own events such as talks, book launches or watch parties for the matches. Eventbrite is one of the most popular platforms for ticketing these events, but have you seen any other platforms or websites?

A search on Eventbrite for Euro 2022 in the United Kingdom on the day of writing comes back with 500 pages

Twitter accounts:
Archived copies of Twitter accounts are only accessible through a reading room, but you can view what we have selected here:

We have already added the Twitter accounts of the players for England, Northern Ireland and other players based in the UK. However, we may have missed some, so please let us know through the nomination form.

Get involved 
Anyone can suggest UK published websites to be included in the UK Web Archive by filling in our nomination form.

15 December 2021

How a web designed for the visually impaired is a better web for everyone

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

This Disability History Month, staff from across the British Library have collaborated on a series of blog posts to highlight stories of disability and disabled people in the Library’s collections. Each week a curator will showcase an item from the collections and present it alongside commentary from a member of the British Library’s Disability Support Network. These selections are a snapshot insight into the Library’s holdings of disability stories, and we invite readers to use these as a starting point to explore the collections further and share your findings with us.

The web, created over 30 years ago, has revolutionised the world of information sharing but it has not always been an ideal space for all users and in particular those who are visually impaired. By regularly capturing copies of websites over time, Web Archives can document changes and see the progress on accessibility.

During the 1990s and early 2000s it was not unusual for websites to use small, fixed type, poor colour contrast, animations, dense text and many other techniques that can make it harder to read or view. For example, this was the first website I helped maintain back in 1999 when I had just started in the Court Service web team. Not too bad for the time, it does illustrate in some ways how web design and accessibility could look like over 20 years ago.

Court Service website 1999

The Court Service (then part of the Lord Chancellor’s Dept) website in 1999, captured by the UK Government Web Archive. 

Contrast the 1999 Court Service website with the thoroughly modern and accessible GOV.UK website whose team work extremely hard to make it as easy to view and use as possible.


Gov.UK archived website from 2021

Whilst far from perfect, the modern web is a much better place now for visually impaired people but how did this change come about?

In 1995, just as the web was gaining in popularity, the landmark ‘Disability Discrimination and Equality Act’ came into force in the UK (Note: this legislation has had many subsequent updates since then). At a similar time the ‘Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)’ were being developed. Also, charities such as the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) have been huge champions for online accessibility, even offering a badge of approval to compliant sites.

Legislation, guidance and campaigning have all helped to move web designers and website owners into thinking about all their audience and improving standards.

Principles of web accessibility
At a basic level, websites should be available to everyone and with just a few principles in place, this is entirely achievable. Text should be made so that the user can scale the font size, images should have descriptive captions and alternative text. Videos and multimedia should have subtitles or captions. If websites are structured correctly they allow screen readers to ‘speak’ the website to the user. In 2021, all websites should follow these and several other recommendations in order to be compliant. Read the full WCAG guidance for more.

Another example could be RNIB’s own website that has undergone considerable change and improvement over the years. See these archived websites from 2008 and 2021.

RNIB website 2008

RNIB archived website from 2008 

RNIB website 2021

RNIB archived website from 2021

A better web for everyone!
Making the web accessible for visually impaired people is something that benefits everyone. Bigger text with more ‘white space’ and high colour contrast on a page makes much easier (and quicker) reading. Many people today with no visual impairment use captions and subtitles on videos they watch, either to keep the volume low (or off) or it just makes things easier to understand.

From the website owners point of view, why would anyone want to discourage people using their website? Reading their news, latest blog or educational resource or if they are a business, buying their products or services.

Making an accessible web is a WIN-WIN for us all and we should be grateful for the hard work of those who got us where we are today and who are still striving for improvements.

Read more information on accessibility in the early web.

Reflection from British Library staff Disability Support Network member
I completely agree with Jason, making websites, or anything in life, accessible for people with impairments and disabilities, does benefit everyone. Very often actions taken to make something accessible for one kind of disability actually benefits many others. For example many of the website guidelines will benefit those with neurodiverse differences as well as visual impairments. Lots more can still be done to make web content accessible. Particularly with a growing increase of information shared via social media as opposed to a website. To make things accessible often just takes some time, not everything has a financial implication. An example being, taking the time to write Alt Text and Image Descriptions.

I often find that design and aesthetics are still a barrier to making things accessible. If the outcome of making something accessible doesn’t fit in with the aesthetics and design branding of an organisation, they often won’t bother making the effort to make it accessible. Making information accessible doesn’t have to compromise on design, people just need to change their perceptions and their approach, and make adaptations.


19 October 2021

Clouds and blackberries: how web archives can help us to track the changing meaning of words

By Dr Barbara McGillivray (Turing Fellow), Pierpaolo Basile (Assistant Professor in Computer Science, University of Bari), Dr Marya Bazzi (Turing Fellow) and  Dr Jenny Basford, Jason Webber (British Library)

NOTE: This a re-blog from the Alan Turing Institute, with permission.

The meaning of words changes all the time. Think of the word ‘blackberry’, for example, which has been used for centuries to refer to a fruit. In 1999, a new brand of mobile devices was launched with the name BlackBerry. Suddenly, there was a new way of using this old word. ‘Cloud’ is another example of a well-established word whose association with ‘cloud computing’ only emerged in the past couple of decades. Linguists call this phenomenon ‘semantic change’ and have studied its complex mechanisms for a long time. What has changed in recent years is that we now have access to huge collections of data which can be mined to find these changes automatically. Web archives are a great example of such collections, because they contain a record of the changing content of web pages.

But how can we automatically detect in a huge web archive when a word has changed its meaning? A common strategy is to build geometric representations of words called word embeddings. Word embeddings use lots of data about the context in which words are used so that similar words can be clustered together. We can then do operations on these embeddings, for example to find the words that are closest (and most similar in meaning) to a given word. It’s a useful technique, but building embeddings takes a lot of computing power. Having access to pre-trained embeddings can therefore make a big difference, enabling those in the scientific community without sufficient computational resources to participate in this research.

A team of researchers from The Alan Turing Institute and the Universities of Bari, Oxford and Warwick, in collaboration with the UK Web Archive team based at the British Library, has now released DUKweb, a set of large-scale resources that make pre-trained word embeddings freely available. Described in this article, DUKweb was created from the JISC UK Web Domain Dataset (1996-2013), a collection of all .uk websites archived by the Internet Archive between 1996 and 2013. (This dataset is held and maintained by the UK Web Archive, which has been collecting websites since 2005, initially on a selective basis and since 2013 at a whole domain level.) DUKweb contains 1.3 billion word occurrences and two types of word embeddings for each year of the JISC UK Web Domain Dataset. The size of DUKweb is 330GB.

Researchers can use DUKweb to study semantic change in English between 1996 and 2013, looking at, for instance, the effects of the growth of the internet and social media on word meanings. For example, if the word ‘blackberry’ is used mostly to refer to fruits in 1996 and to mobile phones in 2000, the 1996 embedding for this word will be quite different from its 2000 embedding. In this way, we can find words that may have changed meaning in this time period. The figure below (from Tsakalidis et al., 2019) shows four words whose contexts of use have changed in the last couple of decades: ‘blackberry’, ‘cloud’, ‘eta’ and ‘follow’. The bars indicate words most similar to these four words in 2000 (red bars) and in 2013 (blue bars). The scale along the bottom gives a measure of the change.

figure 02 - analysis - clouds, blackberries

The resources that underpin DUKweb are hosted on the British Library’s research repository, and are available for anyone in the world to download, reuse and repurpose for their own projects. This repository is part of the BL’s Shared Research Repository for cultural heritage organisations, which brings together the research outputs produced by participating institutions, and makes them discoverable to anybody with an internet connection. Providing a stable, dedicated location to hold heritage datasets in order to share them with a wider research community has been one of the key drivers in the implementation and development of this repository service. We are grateful to the British Library’s Repository Services team for supporting this collaboration between the UK Web Archive team and the Turing by making the content for DUKweb available.

Read the paper: DUKweb: diachronic word representations from the UK Web Archive corpus


09 June 2021

Alternative Sports in the UK Web Archive - Part 1

By Jason Webber, Web Archive Engagement Manager, British Library

Welcome to the UK Web Archive 'Summer of Sport' season! Over the next few months we will show the many ways that sport is represented in the web archive.

Let's start with some of the more quirky and unusual 'sports' played in the UK:

Cheese Rolling Championship

Brave competitors chase a wheel of cheese down the terrifyingly steep Cooper's hill (1 in 1 in places) in Gloucestershire. First one to the bottom is the winner! The prize is a 7-8lb wheel of Double Gloucester cheese!

Cheese Rolling Championship website

The official Cheese Rolling Championship website in 2008.

The Chap Olympiad

What sport can there be for the well dressed 'person-about-town'? The 'Chap Olympiad' of course.

"A series of challenges ensue ranging from the frantic and frenetic to the barely mobile. The Tea Pursuit and Umbrella Jousting (where participants clamber aboard a bike holding an umbrella and a briefcase) see what is possibly the first use of Boris bikes as part of a sporting contest. The Tug Of Hair pits two teams against each other, pulling on a twenty feet long moustache until one team topples over. In Well-Dressage, individuals mount hobbyhorses and prance around to music while Not Tennis is the epitome of anti-sport with two players invited to do anything but play tennis."

Chap olympiad - Londonist website

Photos of the Chap Olympiad from the Londonist website in 2016.

Bog Snorkeling

If an athlete is not afraid of a spot of mud, what better event than the Bog Snorkeling Championships! Competitors aim to complete two consecutive lengths of a 60 yards (55 m) water-filled trench cut through a peat bog in the shortest time possible, wearing traditional snorkel, diving mask and flippers.

"Event rules state that no recognised swimming strokes are allowed at the event so it all comes down to honing down the perfect technique to power through the murky water."

Bog snorkling - Visit Wales Blog

Bog Snorkeling on the Visit Wales website from April 2013

World Conker Championships

Threading a piece of string through a horse chestnut seed and hitting another one has been a long standing feature of school playgrounds. Conkers, however, is a serious business and over a thousand are used in each World Championship contest!

World conker championships

Photo of the World Conker Championship 2016.

BBC News article on the World Conker Championship in 2004.

We aim to capture all aspects of UK life including the sporting life. If you have a UK sport website that you would like to suggest for the web archive, nominate it here.



07 June 2021

Curating the UKWA LGBTQ+ Lives Online collection

By Ash Green and Steven Dryden - LGBTQ+ Lives Online lead curators

The LGBTQ+ Lives Online collection has been live now for almost a year. This has given us the time to gain a better understanding of the content in it, and also how people are interacting with the collection. Based on this, we wanted to consider some of the challenges around structuring, tagging and representing sites within it.

Sub-Collections & Subject tagging

When the collection was set up, one of the tasks that needed to be undertaken was defining the structure of the sub-collections. At this stage they are organised as follows:

  • Activism/Pride
  • Arts, Literature, Music & Culture
  • Business/Commerce
  • Education
  • History
  • Medicine and Community
  • Policy and Legislative Change
  • Religion
  • Social Organisations
  • Sport

We defined the sub-collections based on what we thought would be added to the collection, without actually knowing what the majority of that content might be. As more sites have been added we can see that some sub-collections work well and others not so well. We are getting a sense of which sub-collections might need to be revisited.

One sub-collection that at this stage requires more consideration in terms of whether it should be changed or split, is Medicine & Community. When we set this up, it felt like a logical pairing – both aspects of the sub-collection are about well-being, with one indicating it’s about medical support, and the other about wellness achieved through peer support. But now, as we add more sites to this sub-collection, the terminology doesn’t feel quite right. This is especially true when sites focused more on well-being, emotional support and guidance, such as Spectra and Outline Surrey are included in the sub-collection. Possibly a more appropriate sub-collection name would be Health & Community, which would still allow the inclusion of medical and community wellness, but under a clearer umbrella.

No homophobia, no violence t-shirt

When the collection was set up, Retirement also featured as a sub-collection. We eventually removed this before go-live. Not because it wasn’t relevant, but because there was insufficient online content within the collection to justify including it at this stage. That said, that may change over time and an increase in sites focusing on both retirement and older LGBTQ+ people’s lives may result in us re-instating it or a similar sub-collection. Similarly, other themes might rise out of existing sites in the collection that would require new sub-collections to be added, or even new subjects to be included. Part of the key purpose of the collection is to not only archive appropriate web sites, but to also make them findable via the sub-collections.

As well as adding sites to sub-collections within the LGBTQ+ Lives Online collection, they can also be assigned to other collections and sub-collections. For example, Graces Cricket Club (a gay cricket club) appear in both the LGBTQ+ Lives Online / Sport sub-collection and the separate Sport: Football collection. In cases like this, there’s no question that it’s perfectly appropriate to include this site in both subject collections. However, in some instances, LGBTQ+ sites have also been previously included in inappropriate sub-collections. For example, one site in the collection had previously been assigned to Medicine and Health / Conditions & Diseases sub-collection before the LGBTQ+ Lives

Online project began. This incorrectly implied that being an LGBTQ+ person was either a “condition” or a “disease”. This has been corrected, but it highlights that we also need to be aware that choosing which collection or sub-collection we add a site to has implications about how a curator perceives that site, and the negative bias we may in turn present to collection users by including a site in an inappropriate sub-collection.

Content Warnings
Another area we are considering is content warnings. When we recently ran an online session about the collection, we were asked if any content warnings were included in the descriptions of sites tagged within the collection. Another person also expressed concern about the inclusion of sites within the LGBTQ+ Lives Online collection that were negative or hostile towards members of the LGBTQ+ community. Though these sites are included, they do not provide content warnings about their harmful and negative perspectives or context about their inclusion. Again, this is a valid comment, and content warnings would help identify that users were about to enter a site whose perspectives might be problematic or triggering.

Keyboard - caution

You may also be wondering why sites such as the ones that are negative or hostile towards members of the LGBTQ+ community are included in the collection? It goes back to the purpose of this project, which is to archive UK sites that reflect UK LGBTQ+ lives and experiences. This includes positive, neutral and negative sites if relevant. For example, we include at least one site in the collection that questions the validity of trans and gender non-conforming people as apart of the LGBTQ+ community. If we didn’t include this site, it would not give a balanced picture of trans people’s experience, as it would miss out on a key factor that has had a huge impact on many trans lives over the past few years. As such, even though we do not agree with questioning the validity of trans and gender non-

conforming people, those sites are valid to LGBTQ+ research and discussion. But it’s not just sites like these that we would consider including a content warning against. Any sites highlighting LGBTQ+ phobic or hate content may also be included.

Content warnings are not something we’ve considered before, and at present, the cataloguing rules for the UK Web Archive collection don’t have capacity for the inclusion of content warnings. However, following on from these conversations, it is something we need to address, along with highlighting that including content within the collection does not necessarily mean that the curators agree with the opinions in those sites.

The structure of the sub-collections and content warnings are areas that we want to address as soon as we can, and it is something we would like to discuss with the wider LGBTQ+ community. How we achieve that is yet to be decided, but we are always open to suggestions.

In the mean-time, don’t forget that you can explore the LGBTQ+ Lives Online UK Web Archive collection.

You can also nominate sites for inclusion in the collection.


25 November 2020

LGBTQ+ Lives Online Web Archive Collection

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

As you’ll have read on this blog, the collaboration with UK Web Archive (UKWA), British Library and CILIP LGBTQ+ Network to develop LGBTQ+ content within the UK Web Archive was launched during summer 2020.

Rainbow tapestry

LGBTQ+ content was already part of the UK Web Archive before the collaboration began, with many sites in other collections overlapping LGBTQ+ themes. For example, Black and Asian Britain (, Gender Equality (Beyond the Binary), Sport (Graces Cricket Club). And some sites cut across many collections, highlighting the intersectional nature of the UK Web Archive. For example, Gal-Dem features in the News Sites; Zines and Fanzines; Black and Asian Britain; Gender Equality; Women's Issues; Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights collections, as well as LGBTQ+ Lives Online. LGBTQ+ Lives Online, much like the lived experience of the LGBTQ+ does not sit in isolation, disconnected from other aspects of UK offline and online life. LGBTQ+ people play a part in all aspects of the UK community, and are not solely defined by their gender or sexual orientation.

This UK Web Archive collection doesn’t stand in isolation either, it enriches the scope of work already begun at The British Library.LGBTQ Histories aims to explore the experiences and stories encountered in the collections, posing questions about the lived experience of LGBTQ+ people throughout history.The LGBTQ+ Lives Online collection of the UK Web Archive plays a part in CILIP LGBTQ+ Network’s ambition to raise the profile of LGBTQ+ people, support the development of LGBTQ+ information resources and the work of LGBTQ+ Library, information and knowledge workers.

LGBTQ+ Lives Online Collection

UKWA 'ACT' tool

The collection currently contains over 400 sites and web pages in the main collection, with more of these being added to sub-collections every week. Many of the sites were already in the UKWA before the collaboration began, but were not linked to sub-collections. We are still at the stage where we are developing the structure of sub-collections but our initial indexes cover:

Since the launch of this collaborative project, we have been focused on a number of areas to both develop the project and to preserve sites within the collection. This includes:

  • Identifying sites already in the UK Web Archive to be added to the LGBTQ+ Lives Online sub-collections.
  • Identifying new sites not already in the UKWA to be included in the collection.
  • Spreading the word about the project as widely as possible via blog posts and articles such as this; social media; emails targeting specific LGBTQ+, library, and broader diversity organisations and networks.

You can browse through the collection here, and nominate a UK published site or webpage with a focus on LGBTQ+ lives to be included in the collection via: We would especially like to see more nominations that reflect the multicultural nature of UK LGBTQ+ communities and the many diaspora communities based here, including UK sites written in languages other than English.

Though it can often be challenging for us to archive social media accounts, we are able to collect LGBTQ+ Twitter accounts. We have experimented with other methods of archiving social media but this is on a selective basis, but we would welcome nominations and projects that might address these challenges and how they might impact on archiving LGBTQ+ experience in the UK,

How can you access these archived websites?

UKWA search results page

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 Library and Trinity College Dublin Library.  

Some of the websites in UKWA have already had permission granted, these include Out Stories Bristol, Trans Ageing and Care, Bi Cymru/Wales and Queer Zine Library. 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 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: 

Previous blog posts about the project can be viewed via the following links.

LGBTQ+ Lives Online project introduction

LGBTQ+ Lives Online: Introducing the Lead Curators


26 October 2020

The 1916 Easter Rising Web Archive

By Brendan Power, Digital Preservation Librarian, Library of Trinity College Dublin

The 3 Legal Deposit Library logos who were involved in the collaboration - Bodleian Libraries, Trinitiy College Dublin and the British Library

At the recent conference, ‘Engaging with Web Archives: Opportunities, Challenges and Potentialities’, I presented a paper on a collaborative project between The Library of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, the Bodleian Libraries, the University of Oxford, and the British Library. The project was carried out in 2015/16 and aimed to identify, collect, and preserve online resources related to the 1916 Easter Rising and the diverse ways it was commemorated and engaged with throughout its centenary in 2016. The Bodleian Libraries primarily collected UK websites under the provisions of the 2013 Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations (NPLD), while The Library of Trinity College Dublin focused on websites in the .ie domain. Since no legislation exists in the Republic of Ireland to ensure that the .ie domain is preserved, websites within the .ie domain were collected on a voluntary basis, that is, with the express formal permission of the website owners through the signing of a license agreement.


We aimed to reflect the variety of ways that the Irish and British states, cultural and educational institutions, as well as communities and individuals, approached the centenary events. These included official commemorative websites, the websites of museums, archives, heritage, cultural, and education institutions, along with traditional and alternative news media websites, blogs, and community websites. These resources will be invaluable primary resources to analyse how people interpreted and engaged with the Easter Rising in its centenary year. Researchers have reflected on the events organised on the fiftieth anniversary of the Easter Rising in 1966 and how these events were framed, the aspects that were championed, and the critical viewpoints denied expression. In a similar way, the records created throughout the centenary will be an essential resource for researchers in analysing how the generations of 2016 engaged with the legacy of the Easter Rising and the approaches, themes, and tone adopted.


The resulting web archive collection contains over 318 seeds, i.e. websites or sub-sections of these. Of these 318 websites, 112 (35%) were selected by The Library of Trinity College Dublin, 190 (60%) by the Bodleian Libraries, and 16 (5%) by curators at the British Library. 118 (37%) of the websites were from the .ie domain, 172 (54%) were from the .uk domain and 28 (9%) were associated with other areas, predominantly the USA. For all websites outside the UK (146), formal permission was sought from the website owners, resulting in 61 licenses to archive and make the archived copies publicly available. We received no response from 83 website owners, and 2 organisations agreed in principle to inclusion in the web archive but were not in a position to sign the license agreement required to allow us to archive the website as they could not affirm that they controlled the copyright of all the content that was to be archived. This meant an overall permissions rate of 42%, with the rate for websites in the .ie domain being even higher, at 51%.


Since the project was completed there have been many helpful reminders of the impact that such work has. This included one organisation that had created a website dedicated to an Easter Rising project which was no longer live on the web. The person that was responsible for the website had left the organisation and their replacement had no access to the materials that had been on the website. They had discovered an e-mail from me back in 2016 inviting them to participate in the web archive. Once they contacted me, I was able to direct them to the UK web archive and, as the organisation had signed the license agreement, they were able to access the archived website immediately from their office. This access had saved them both the time and staff resources that would have been expended in order to recreate some of the resources that were available on the archived website. It serves as an example of what embedding sustainability into a project can save in terms of time and staff resources and demonstrated the positive economic impact that organisations can derive by participation in cultural heritage initiatives such as web archives.


The co-curators of this collection have also previously published a paper on the collection in the academic journal, Internet Histories called Capturing commemoration: the 1916 Easter Rising web archive project.

You can watch Brendan Power’s presentation on the EWA YouTube Channel.


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