The UK Web Archive, a collaboration between all of the UKs legal deposit libraries, aims to ‘collect’ all UK websites at least once a year, to preserve the content as a resource even if the site itself changes or removes its content or ceases to exist altogether. This site can be used to discover old or obsolete versions of UK websites, search the text of the websites and browse websites curated on different topics and themes.
The UK Web Archive is freely accessible to anyone with an internet connection at https://www.webarchive.org.uk/en/ukwa/index
As the web archive aims to have all versions of every UK website, so all websites that have a UK top level domain name such as .UK, .SCOT, .WALES, .CYMRU and .LONDON plus any websites that are identified as being hosted on a server located physically in the UK via a geo-ip lookup. Additionally, if a website contains a UK postal address or the website owner confirms UK residence or place of business their website can be included. Archived websites will vary in sophistication, from the very technical and dynamic to more simple, ‘home grown’ publications. All UK websites have been being collected since 2013, with some earlier content having been collected by permission. It is important to note that the majority of the millions of websites in the UKWA, collected from 2013 onwards have been acquired under the Non-Print Legal Deposit Act, 2003. Without an additional licence from the website owner, these websites can only be viewed in the reading rooms of Legal Deposit Libraries. Currently, there are about 15,000 websites, collected from 2004 to the present, are publicly available online as we have the website owner's consent to make them available in this way.
Searching is available from the homepage via a single search box. You can search by full URL for particular websites, or by combining keywords and phrase using Boolean logic. The search results default to display only those items which are immediately viewable online – you can select to see all results, including those only available in the reading rooms of a legal deposit library by altering the filters on the left of the results screen. Other filters include domain, suffix, and date.
For results only available in the reading room of a legal deposit library, please check with the individual library. Results which are freely available online can be printed in the same way as normal websites (i.e. with variable results).
Whilst there is no specific help pages within the archive, there is a detailed set of FAQs available from the home page, and also tips for searching the archive just below the search box on the home page.