The British Library has officially launched the UK Web Archive, offering access in perpetuity to thousands of UK websites for generations of researchers.
The site was unveiled earlier this week by the Minister for Culture and Tourism, the Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP, and Chief Executive of the British Library, Dame Lynne Brindley, this project demonstrates the importance and value of the nation’s digital memory.
Websites included in the UK Web Archive include:
- The Credit Crunch – initiated in July 2008, this collection contains records of high-street victims of the recession – including Woolworths and Zavvi.
- Antony Gormley’s ‘One & Other’ Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth Project – involving 2,400 participants and streamed live by Sky Arts over the web to an audience of millions, this site will no longer exist online from March 2010.
- 2010 General Election – work has started to preserve the websites of MPs such as Derek Wyatt, who will be retiring at the next election, creating a permanent record of his time as a Member of Parliament.
This important research resource has been developed in partnership with the National Library of Wales, JISC and the Wellcome Library, as well as technology partners such as IBM.
British Library Chief Executive, Dame Lynne Brindley said:
“Since 2004 the British Library has led the UK Web Archive in its mission to archive a record of the major cultural and social issues being discussed online. Throughout the project the Library has worked directly with copyright holders to capture and preserve over 6,000 carefully selected websites, helping to avoid the creation of a ‘digital black hole’ in the nation’s memory.
“Limited by the existing legal position, at the current rate it will be feasible to collect just 1% of all free UK websites by 2011. We hope the current DCMS consultation will enact the 2003 Legal Deposit Libraries Act and extend theprovision of legal deposit through regulationto cover freely available UK websites, providingregular snapshots ofthe free UK web domainforthebenefit of future research.”
Further details are available from the British Library.