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Web Collections

Since 2004 The British Library has archived thousands of United Kingdom websites. These are available from the UK Web Archive provided by the Library.

Sites are accepted when they fulfil the criteria of our Collection Development Policy (PDF format) and when the owners of the material on the website have granted permission for the Library to archive the site. Sites in the archive have been selected by BL subject specialists or have been successfully recommended to the Library for archiving. If you would like to suggest a website, thereby preserving it for the future, please Nominate a Site.

In due course, it is hoped that regulation under the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 will authorise the Library to gather UK websites for the national heritage without requiring website owners' permissions. If you have any comments or queries, please contact BL Web-Archivist.

Collection Overview and Highlights

Thousands of individual UK websites have been collected in the Archive from 2004 onwards. Because most sites are collected again and again changes to sites over time can be observed in the archive, with the unfolding history of a spectrum of UK events, interests and activities. The subject range is vast but the collection has particular strengths in the social history of UK and in literary sites.

Search is by Title or URL, or browse by Subject, Collection and the alphabetical list of website names.

Highlights include Special Collections of sites concerned with Blogs, the British Countryside, the Credit Crunch, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, many political sites including a General Election 2005 collection, and Women’s Issues (selected in partnership with the Women’s Library, London Metropolitan University). Among the earliest collection is one devoted to the internet activity associated with the Indian Ocean Tsunami. There are also particular collections devoted to Cornwall and to Northern Ireland.

Literary sites in the archive include many sites about the UK’s great writers of the past as well as those devoted to contemporary authors, including Andrea Levy, Edwin Morgan, Gillian Clarke, Ian McEwan, Ruth Padel, Suhayl Saadi, Toby Litt, and Jeanette Winterson.

Researching UK Websites

UK websites and sites of UK interest are collected by a number of different organisations. Each has particular strengths. They include:

UK Web Archive. Provided by the British Library working with partners. Sites from 2004 onwards. Collects all subjects, but particular strengths in literary, political and social history of UK. Access by URL, title of site, named Collections, subject and browse. Members of the public can nominate sites to be included.

European Archive. Collects a selection of European domain sites, including UK central government. Access is by browse.

Internet Archive. US body. Has been archiving web in many countries since 1996. Includes many UK websites, though not always in depth. Search is by URL.

The National Archives. Samples of UK central government websites from c.2000 onwards, collected by European Archive. Search is by URL and named Collections.

PANDORA: Australia’s Web Archive. Established by the National Library of Australia with sites from 1996 onwards.


Nominate a Site
British Library Web Archiving Programme

PDF files

The links below are to Adobe PDF files. Accessibility solutions and free Reader software are available from Adobe.