National Library of Ireland Web Archive
The National Library of Ireland is creating an archive of significant Irish websites. This is because we recognise the intrinsic cultural value of born digital materials and the importance of preserving this material for current and future generations. We also recognise this opportunity of working with Born digital collections as a way to enable users to work with the NLI and NLI collections, in new and innovative ways.
Web archiving is an activity whereby a snapshot of a web site at a particular point in time is collected and preserved for future use. This has become a very important activity in the cultural domain, particularly due to the transitory nature of websites. Sites are usually collected by a ‘web crawler’ which is an automated piece of software designed to capture websites at a particular point in time, and these captured sites can then be made available for research, sometimes long after the original site has disappeared.
The library began web archiving in 2011 with a project on the 2011 General Election followed by the 2011 Presidential Election. Websites were identified for inclusion and pre and post-election snapshots were taken as part of the project. The NLI is continuing with selective and thematic web archiving with the aim of creating a web archive containing websites of cultural and historical importance covering a broad range of topics of Irish interest as well as reflecting the strengths of our physical collections.
The web crawling activities are being carried out by the Internet Memory Foundation for the NLI, a non-profit organisation established to actively support the preservation of Internet as a new media for heritage and cultural purpose.
Tips for searching
It is important to remember that archived sites do not behave as normal live sites and so some links many not have been captured and a page ‘404 webpage cannot be found’ may come up. You may also come across a live Twitter feed but you will know an archived site from the ‘[Archived Content]’ which appears on upper left-hand side. Many of the sites contain Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos and other social sites but not all may have been captured for technical reasons.
It is your responsibility to comply with the legislation in your jurisdiction, particularly copyright (where applicable). The National Library of Ireland makes these materials available for the purposes of research and private study only. For further information please consult the Rights & Reproductions page of our website.