UK Web Archive

UK Web Archive

Web Archiving collects, makes accessible and preserves web resources of scholarly and cultural importance from the UK domain.

About the collection

The Library has three main collections of archived websites:

    1. Open UK Web Archive has been collecting websites by permission since 2004 and is the smallest of the three collections. Its selective nature means that the sites are of high quality, and the archival copies have been manually quality-checked and carefully annotated. This curated collection covers aspects of UK life and culture, as well as specific events such as general elections, the 2012 Olympic Games, and the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. Selected websites are continuously added and anyone can nominate a UK website for inclusion.
    2. JISC UK Web Domain Dataset (1996-2013) contains all of the resources from the Internet Archive that were hosted on domains ending in ‘.uk’, or that are required in order to render those UK pages.
    3. Non-Print Legal Deposit UK Web Archive includes millions of websites obtained through our annual archiving of the entire UK domain. This was enabled by the non-print legal deposit regulations introduced by the government in April 2013.

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

What is available online?

Search the Open UK Web Archive online for specific websites or information, or to browse by subject or special collection. There are also a number of derived datasets which can be downloaded.

Search the JISC UK Web Domain Dataset (1996-2013) with Shine, our prototype search engine created especially for querying this complex collection. The trend analysis feature helps researchers track changes in communication on the web across the 17-year period, such as language use. The powerful search interface allows filtering of full text results by postcode, file type, year or domain. Derived datasets can also be downloaded.

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

The Non-Print Legal Deposit UK Web Archive can only be accessed on computers in our Reading Rooms.

Search Explore the British Library to find titles of websites in the archive. Refine your results by using the advanced search options to look for the ‘archived websites’ material type.

What is available in other organisations?

  • The Non-Print Legal Deposit UK Web Archive can also be accessed in the Reading Rooms at: National Library of Wales, National Library of Scotland, Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, Cambridge University Library, and the Library of Trinity College Dublin
  • 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 provides a list of organisations and national libraries around the world that maintain web archives.

Further information

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

The Big UK Domain Data for Arts and Humanities project provides detailed case studies for research use of web archives.

How to guides

Initiate a new digitisation project with the British Library

Contact us if you want to start an externally funded project

Get a Reader Pass

Access over 200 million collection items for free with a Reader Pass. Carry out research in our Reading Rooms and access our online collections.

Find and request Lord Chamberlain's Plays

How to locate items in our largest single manuscript collection

Guide to Explore Archives and Manuscripts

A guide to help you use the catalogue, covering: login, search, how to manage your results, how to browse the collections and how to request items

How to reuse images of unpublished manuscripts

Guide to the copyright of unpublished documents

About Explore Archives and Manuscripts

With Explore Archives and Manuscripts you can search for information about our rich and unique archive and manuscript collections.

Access manuscripts and archives

Accessing manuscripts and archives and obtaining a Letter of introduction or recommendation

How to order images

Instructions on how to order images of the British Library's collections from our Imaging Services

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.

Blog posts

Extracting Place Names from Web Archives at Archives Unleashed Vancouver

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

By Gethin Rees, Lead Curator of Digital Mapping, The British Library I recently attended the Archives Unleashed hackathon in Vancouver. The fantastic Archives Unleashed project aims to help scholars research the recent past by using big data from web archives....

The UK Web Archive gets a fresh look

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Until recently, if you wanted to research a historic UK website you may have had to look in a number of different places. There was the 'Open' UK Web Archive that contained the 15,000 or so publicly available websites collected...

World Digital Preservation Day 2018

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

World Digital Preservation Day (formerly International Digital Preservation Day) is held on the last Thursday of every November and is organised by the DPC. There are lots of events organised around the world that will take place on the 29th...

Sports Collections in the UK Web Archive

Friday, September 28, 2018

By Helena Byrne, Web Archive Curator, The British Library The 30th September is National Sporting Heritage Day in the UK and to celebrate the event in 2018 we will give you a quick overview of our sports collections. Introduction Sport...

More blog posts