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Information published online is more likely to change and disappear over time compared to other types of electronic resources. Web archives therefore form an invaluable record of our contemporary heritage and are crucial for understanding the present moment and interrogating the recent past, especially during times of unprecedented events.

Approach to Collecting

Annual Domain Crawl

Cambridge University Libraries contribute to the UK Web Archive (UKWA), a joint initiative by the six Legal Deposit Libraries of the UK and Ireland. Under the UK’s Legal Deposit Regulations, these libraries collect, preserve, and provide access to print and digitally published works, including the UK web domain for current and future research use.

Based at the British Library, the UKWA team performs an annual automated domain crawl that results in a collection of millions of websites and billions of individual “assets” (HTML pages, images, PDFs, videos, etc.). Websites whose content changes more frequently are crawled more often.

Curated Collecting

At CUL, curators and other experts either based at one of the libraries or externally undertake manual curation of websites on specific events, subjects, or areas of interest.

Websites created by members of the Collegiate University community are the main focus for content for staff at CUL involved in web archiving. These sites could includes ones under the University's domain (, including College websites, as well as websites for research projects and blogs that use a different domain.


The UKWA can be viewed at its website. Most of the archived sites have been acquired under the UK's Legal Deposit legislation and therefore can only be viewed from designated Electronic Legal Deposit PCs at Cambridge University Libraries.

To conduct a search, use Boolean search terms - AND, NOT, OR etc. e.g. apple NOT fruit. Use quote marks when looking for a specific phrase (e.g., “London Olympics”).

Part of the UKWA is open. The UKWA's open access licence has been applied to all websites under the domain, meaning they can be accessed from anywhere in the world.