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).
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?
UK Government Web Archive is maintained by the National Archives
UK Parliament Web Archive provides access to previous versions of the parliamentary website and related external and legacy websites
Internet Archive is the largest and longest-running open-access archive of web content and its collections span web publishing across the world
International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) provides a list of organisations and national libraries around the world that maintain web archives. The Content Development Working Group of the IIPC has also led on a number of international collections.