needs a right to archive
A group of leading libraries has warned that the UK's
online heritage could be lost forever if the government does not grant a
"right to archive".
The British Library, along with other institutions, has
been archiving UK websites since 2004 but has only been able to cover 6,000 of
an estimated 8m. This is because the law requires that they ask permission
from from website owners before archiving them. The group, which has just made its UK Web Archive
available to the public, warned of "a digital black hole" developing
because website owners often are difficult to contact.
The British Library said that it was archiving for the nation rather than commercial
gain and its Web Archive could prove as useful to historians as ancient
pamphlets and other ephemeral material in its archive. The most
ephemeral material from the past contains the most social detail - such as
graphic design, and literacy. Websites are the successor to that British Library spokesperson said.
She added that the UK Web Archive project was necessary
to help "avoid the creation of a 'digital black hole' in the nation's
memory". The average life expectancy of a website is 44 to 75 days, and suggested that at least
10% of all UK websites were either lost or replaced by new material every six