THE BRITISH LIBRARY

UK Web Archive blog

2 posts categorized "Sound and vision"

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!

 

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!