Following the announcement in May 2015 that there would be a referendum on the UK’s EU membership, the Legal Deposit UK Web Archive, led by curators at the Bodleian Libraries, started a collection of websites.
The team of curators includes contributors from the Bodleian Libraries, The British Library, the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales and also Queen’s University Belfast (for the Northern Ireland perspective) and the London School of Economics (for capturing and preserving individual documents, such as the pdf versions of campaigning leaflets).
The collection scope is to capture the ‘Brexit’ debate and the debate around the EU Referendum as well as the wider context of UK/EU relations, including:
- Media coverage
- websites of political parties and other political institutions and groups
- campaigning and lobbying
- trade unions, professional organisations, businesses
- academic debate
- culture and arts
- public opinion through blogs, comments, and if possible social media.
We primarily archive UK websites under the Non-Print Legal Deposit mandate, but also decided to include some sites outside the UK, if relevant – e.g. websites of UK expats in Europe, or political parties, interest groups and think tanks in the EU and in EU member states – on a permission basis.
The collection (at the time of writing) has 2590 target websites. Some of these are whole websites; others will be a single news story or blog post.
Access and availability
The majority of the collection will be available in the reading rooms of UK Legal Deposit libraries, including both British Library sites, the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, Cambridge University Library and Trinity College Dublin. As is usual for web archive collections, there is a delay between collection and availability of up to a year, allowing for cataloguing and for ingest into digital library systems.
by Svenja Kunze, Project Archivist, Bodleian Libraries (Oxford University)