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  • UK Web Archive

    UK Web Archive

    Content published to the web changes rapidly and is at a high risk of loss. Web Archiving collects, preserves and makes available web resources from the UK domain.

    About the collection

    The British Library has been collecting websites since 2005, initially on a selective basis and since 2013 at a ‘whole domain’ level.  

    The vast majority of the collection is acquired under the Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations 2013. This allows the Library to take a copy of any UK digitally published resource (including websites and social media) and to make that archived copy available at UK Legal Deposit Libraries. 

    Additionally, we request permission from some website owners to make our archived copy publicly available through our website. This is a small proportion of our total collection but includes some very interesting and significant resources. 

    Our ‘Topics and Themes’ section contains more than 100 curated collections of websites related to research, life and events in the UK. We work with colleagues at the British Library and legal deposit libraries, as well as researchers, librarians and archivists across the UK to build these collections.  

    This collection includes only web resources published in the UK. This means all websites ending in .uk, .scot, .wales, .cymru and .london, and any website hosted on a server based in the UK.

    We are also able to give access to a collection (SHINE service) of .uk websites 1996-2013 acquired by JISC from the Internet Archive.

    The British Library is a founding member of the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC). The IIPC creates collaborative collections, with participation from around the world, to record websites related to trans-national issues and events.

    What is available online?

    All of the available web archive collections can be discovered via the UK Web Archive website at www.webarchive.org.uk

    19,000+ websites have permission from their owners to be viewed from anywhere via the UK Web Archive website. NOTE: Websites labelled 'Viewable only on Library premises' can only be accessed in reading rooms of UK Legal Deposit Libraries (see more below).

    Browse our ‘Topics and Themes’ collections of archived websites.

    SHINE service: The UK Web Archive hosts a portal able to search .UK websites collected by the Internet Archive between 1996 and 2013. The service also offers the ability to see word and phrase trends. 

    Datasets derived from the SHINE service (.uk domains 1996-2013) include an index of URLs, postcode data, host link data and file format information. 

    You can also analyse data that we are able to make openly available, using the GLAM Workbench.

    IIPC Collaborative Collections cover trans-national events and issues. 


    What is available in our Reading Rooms?

    Millions of websites collected under Legal Deposit. There are two British Library locations (London and Boston Spa in Yorkshire), six others in the UK and one in Ireland that have access to the UK Web Archive collection. You can view these resources at the six UK Legal Deposit Libraries (in 9 locations).

    Locations: The British Library (St. Pancras and Boston Spa), National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth and Cardiff), National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh and Glasgow), Bodleian Library (Oxford), Cambridge University Library, and the Library of Trinity College, Dublin.

    Curated collections: There are over 100 curated collections available in the ‘Topics and Themes’ section of the UK Web Archive website. 

    You will need to use a Library PC to access the web archive collection.

    What is available in other organisations?

    Further information

    Access the UK Web Archive at https://www.webarchive.org.uk/.

    Read the UK Web Archive blog to keep up-to-date with research and developments.

    Follow us on Twitter.

    If you have an enquiry, please contact the UK Web Archive to discuss your needs in depth.

    Blog posts

    Creating a Web Collection for the exhibition - Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights

    Wednesday, December 2, 2020

    By Eleanor Dickens, Curator, Politics and Public Life at the British Library In 2020, the British Library opened the major exhibition: ‘Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights’, exploring women’s rights and gender equality in the UK. To coincide with...

    LGBTQ+ Lives Online Web Archive Collection

    Wednesday, November 25, 2020

    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...

    Web Archive Team wins 2020 Digital Preservation Award

    Tuesday, November 24, 2020

    By Sophia Chrisafis, Internal Communications Officer, The British Library On Thursday 5 November the UK Web Archive Team won The National Archives (UK) Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy at the Digital Preservation Awards 2020. The Award was made to...

    2020 Domain Crawl Update

    Wednesday, November 18, 2020

    By Andy Jackson, Web Archiving Technical Lead at the British Library On the 10th of September the 2020 Domain Crawl got underway. The annual Domain Crawl usually takes about three months to complete, it visits UK published websites on a...

    More blog posts

    Case studies

    …The UK Web Archive is a fantastic resource for researchers…

    Neema used the UK Web Archive to explore how ethnic minorities voted in the EU Referendum.