THE BRITISH LIBRARY

UK Web Archive blog

6 posts categorized "Modern history"

09 June 2021

Alternative Sports in the UK Web Archive - Part 1

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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.

Summary
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.

#WebArchiveSummerOfSport

 

07 June 2021

Curating the UKWA LGBTQ+ Lives Online collection

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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

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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 (blackgayblog.com), 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: https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/info/nominate. 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:

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

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

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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.

 

17 September 2020

Arnhem75 - a special collection of websites added to the UK Web Archive

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By Marja Kingma, Curator of Germanic Collections, the British Library.

 

Arnhem75 blog image
Book cover of 75 Years Battle of Arnhem by Laurens van Aggelen

 

Introduction

The idea to create a collection of websites about the commemoration of Arnhem75 came to RAF Museum historian Harry Raffal and myself whilst attending the seminar ‘The Arnhem Spirit - 75 years of Brits in Arnhem’, on 15 May 2019, organised by the Dutch Embassy in London. The event was part of a programme in which the Netherlands, Britain and other former Allied countries commemorated Operation Market Garden, the code name for the battle for the bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem that took place in September 1944. Allied forces consisted of British, American and Polish troops, with help from Dutch resistance.

The Battle of Arnhem 1944 is of great significance to the UK and interest in it remains strong on both sides of the North Sea.

We wanted to create a lasting memory of these events and a special collection in the UK Web Archive on the subject seemed like a good idea.

 

What is included?

We kept the scope of the project quite narrow; only websites with a focus on the commemorations that took place in Britain and the Netherlands in 2019 are included, with the exception of some websites that deal with the historic facts regarding the Battle to give it some context.

So far over 150 individual websites within the UK web domain have been identified, of which 64 were selected to go into the collection. These sites are limited to the UK web domain, so have .uk in their domain name, or if they don’t must be hosted in the UK, or owned by UK organisations or individuals with a postal address in the UK.

Some of the websites selected for this collection include the 23 Parachute Field Ambulance, Airborne at the Bridge and Arnhem Oosterbeel War Cemetary.

 

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 UK 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.

For this collection you can view what has been selected through the UK Web Archive website but will need to visit a UK Legal Deposit Library reading room to view the archived content. The reading rooms across the Legal Deposit Libraries are starting to reopen now, with some restrictions, as you can read in this blog: https://blogs.bl.uk/webarchive/2020/09/ukwa-available-in-reading-rooms-again.html

 

How Can I Get Involved?

You can help expand this collection by sending us a URL you think may be eligible for inclusion in the collection Arnhem75. Please go to https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/info/nominate to nominate a website and we’ll take it from there.

Occasionally websites from non UK domains can be included, if they have a strong link to the UK and the website owners have given their permission to be included in the collection. Dutch organisations that were involved in the Arnhem75 commemorations are encouraged to get in touch.

We look forward to your suggestions!

 

26 April 2016

Easter Rising 1916 Centenary in Print and Digital

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Ireland has been gripped by  commemorations of the Easter Rising in the last month. The Rising took place from the 24th April to the 29th April 1916 in Dublin. A packed programme of events and activities took place across Ireland and in Irish communities further afield to commemorate this centenary.

In March 2016, addressing a colloquium at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the Irish Ambassador to the United Kingdom, his Excellency Daniel Mulhall, emphasised the transnational and inclusive nature of the commemoration programme in his opening remarks. The 1916 Rising had a global impact with ripples felt as far as Asia and India. This is reflected in the range of events taking place in the United Kingdom, supported by the Irish Embassy.

In military terms the Rising was a failure and had consequences for the people of Dublin with 415 people killed, the majority of whom were civilians.

Print
Turning to the documentation of the Rising, there are a number of interesting documents within the Library’s collections relating to the Rising. The British Library does not hold an original broadside of the Proclamation of an Irish Republic. Nevertheless, later examples of the document were acquired retrospectively.

The earliest example of a version of the proclamation in the British Library’s collections, can be found at C.S.A.24/3.(1.). This is interesting from a bibliographical stand point because it is the first entry under the new heading in the British Library Printed Catalogue to 1975:

ProvisionalGovernmentEntryBLPC

Provisional Government of the Irish Republic 1916. Miscellaneous Public documents. 

That the Library classified this proclamation as a public document and gave the document the C.S.A., official publication pressmark prefix, which originates from the 1890s, is of particular interest.  The third factor which is of interest is that this version of the proclamation is the only item in the green bound guard-book which is embossed on the spine in gold.

Poblacht na heireann1916

IRELAND. PROCLAMATIONS, ETC.

Although the red (purchase) stamp appears on the reverse of the document, because of the way it has been mounted in the volume it is unclear when the item was acquired. It appears to read 15 May ‘59. The volume itself bears the British Museum binders stamp B.M.1961 on the inside of the rear board. These dates indicate that this item, as with other ephemera relating to 1916 Rebellion, was acquired retrospectively. 

Poblacht na heireann 1941

The second example of the proclamation is a more ornate affair. It is a single sheet dating from 1941, measuring approximately 325mm x 255mm. The text of the document is laid out in the same fashion as the original, but the type face has been standardised, removing the anomalies from the original, and the list of signatories has been centred rather than justified to the right as in the original. What is most striking about this item are the portraits of the seven signatories surrounding the text and connected by the decorative boarder. At the bottom centre surround in a circle is the Irish Army sunburst emblem, designed by Eion MacNeill, and interestingly it is reproduced without the inscription "Óglaigh na hÉireann" or Irish Volunteers.

Irish War News Irish War News p4

The third document is a piece of contemporary ephemera which traces its lineage to the focal point of the rebellion. Dated Tuesday April 25 1916, on the last page of the first issue of Irish War News it is an article headed:

“Stop Press (Irish) ‘War News’ is published to-day because a momentous thing has happened. The Irish Republic has been declared in Dublin and a Provisional Government has been appointed to administer it is affairs.”

 The article goes on to name the signatories of the proclamation as the Provisional Government while outlining the situation in Dublin from the rebel prospective.       

Digital
The Rising, or more particularly the centenary of the events in Dublin a hundred years ago, is being explored and represented in new ways thanks to technology and the work of colleagues at Trinity College Dublin and the Bodleian Library Oxford. In the last year they have built and curated a collection of websites related to the commemoration.

These have been archived as part of the open UK Web Archive.  To have the opportunity to build this collection of Irish and UK websites is an exciting prospect for the future of web published content. This endeavour illustrates how the internet is not confined by national boundaries. The work on the Easter Rising collection exemplifies how archivists working together can build a contemporary collection which provides a range of perspectives from all corners of the .uk and .ie domains.   

Archiving websites about anniversaries and centenaries such as Easter 1916 is of prime importance because such sites can be transient and are soon overwritten or taken down. Archiving them creates a research resource for the future which offers scholars and anyone interested the opportunity to explore and examine the response to this centenary on the published web.

The Easter Rising collection is currently a growing part of the UK Web Archive special collections where it can be freely consulted online.

By Jeremy Jenkins, Curator Emerging Media, The British Library
@_jerryjenkins

 

Further Reading

Bouch, Joseph J. “The Republican Proclamation of Easter Monday, 1916,” Bibliographical Society of Ireland, Publications vol.5. no.3 1936. General Reference Collection: Ac.9708/2 [A reissue].

The Easter Proclamation of the Irish Republic, MCMXVI
Dublin : Dolmen Press, 1960. General Reference Collection: Cup.510.ak.37

The Easter Proclamation of the Irish Republic 1916,
[S.l.] : Dolmen Press, 1976. Document Supply Shelfmark: D76/23312