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Remembering 1916, Recording 2016 - The National Library Web Archive

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Why is the National Library archiving key Irish websites? The web is a fluid and transformative place, and research indicates that up to 60% of URLS have been deleted or changed after just two years!1  Web archiving involves identifying, selecting and preserving websites to ensure this record of Irish life is not lost and will be available for future researchers.  The National Library works with our technical partner, the Internet Memory Foundation, to crawl and capture websites.  We will be taking a closer look at how we archive the web in our next blog.


Original Copy of the 1916 Proclamation. NLI EPH G102

Beginning back in 2011 with the General Election, we aimed to create and preserve a record of online life in Ireland.  Our lives increasingly revolve around the internet.  It is online where we now find information, form our opinions and interact with our communities.  For an organisation such as ourselves, with experience of preserving material for future generations of researchers (whether those researchers visit us in person or log onto our website) there is a far greater imperative that drives us towards collecting this material, and that is that unlike other formats (paper, vellum, etc.) digital material and the technology that ultimately provides access to this material is in far greater danger of disappearing.  The irony is, that unlike vellum which when stored in the correct conditions can last hundreds of years, digital material can and does disappear at the touch of a button.  Just as we have worked hard to preserve material from 1916, including the National Library’s original copy of the 1916 Proclamation above, and the commemorative material from the 50th anniversary of the Rising in 1966, below, it makes sense to capture, preserve and make available the websites that tell the story of 2016 for future generations of researchers.


Commemorative Calendar for the 50th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising.


The National Library has an extensive programme of events for 2016 and web archiving plays a prominent role. We have selected the theme, Remembering 1916, Recording 2016, to reflect what we will be doing this year.  We will be archiving websites surrounding the commemorations of both the 1916 Easter Rising and the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.  We will be capturing snap shots of not only the state led official commemorations, but also smaller locally organised events in libraries, museums and communities throughout the country to give a complete picture of what is happening online in 2016.  One such example is that of the Ireland 2016 website. This official website details the State Centenary Programme of events at home and abroad for 2016.



Ireland 2016 website.

Ireland.ie is one of the first websites we will be archiving this year. It details commemorative events in Ireland and abroad. Capturing this website ensures that future researchers will be able to look back on what happened in 2016.

The Library’s digital web archive collection will be complementary to the other NLI 2016 highlighted collections, and just as we reflect on the paper based record of the 1966 commemorations, researchers will look at our 2016 web archive collection to gain a better understanding of this centenary year.

We will be updating you on how we do what we do and on our progress through the blog here and also on our social media accounts, so do keep your eyes peeled!

Check out what we have already preserved here: http://collection.europarchive.org/nli/

 Maria Ryan

2016 Web Archivist

Digital Collections



  • 1 a b Andy Jackson of the UK web archive http://www.slideshare.net/andrewnjackson/ten-years-of-the-uk-web-archive-what-have-we-saved