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UK Web Archive

UKOLN Seminar: Research and the Web Archive

Seminar Postponed Due to Unforeseen Circumstances

Maureen Pennock of the British Library and Ed Pinsent of ULCC will give a seminar to UKOLN Staff entitled Research and the Web Archive which will be held at the University of Bath from 13.30-15.00 on Friday 25 November 2011. This seminar will be open to UKOLN staff and members of the University of Bath with an interest in research uses of Web archives. In addition, if places are available, others with interests in this area will be able to attend. Attendance is free, subject to registration.

This seminar will focus on using archived Web sites and collections of Web archives for scholarly research. A presentation on the current state of play will be given which will be followed by a brainstorming session on research uses of the UK Web Archive.

This will include issues such as:

  • What types of research questions could be answered (part or whole) by the UK Web Archive?
  • Which disciplines do you think would/could make most use of the UK Web Archive and why?
  • What tools or analytical techniques should we be considering?
  • What are the research limitations of a selective archive as opposed to a domain level archive?

We were fortunate to catch Maureen Pennock for a brief discussion on what she and Ed Pinsent hope to offer in the seminar. Talking about the background to the seminar, Maureen commented, "The Web archiving community has for the past decade been very focused on collecting and establishing Web archives. Use cases for access to the Web archives have of course been considered along the way – take a look, for example, at Use Cases for Access to Internet Archives by the IIPC Access Working Group. But now that we have more established and significantly larger collections that provide greater temporal coverage, we need to revisit the opportunities. There is a growing feeling, for example, that analytical access is likely to support far more scholarly research purposes than the typical access scenario of single Web pages. In fact, I wrote something along those lines in a guest post on Brian Kelly’s blog in September. I also think the Future of the Past of the Web meeting in London in October reinforced this feeling."

We then went on to ask Maureen about how she saw the seminar working. "The seminar will provide a forum to discuss these opportunities in more detail. I will give an introduction to the Web archive; the current state of play (what we have with regards to our selective collection and the domain archive); and the prototype tools that we're developing; together with where we see the collection heading in the near future. Ed will talk briefly about the work he's doing for JISC, and talk a little about permissions and then we'll kick off the discussions. I'm really keen to hear what people think about research opportunities - we're looking at the following four questions to get the ball rolling: What types of research questions could be answered (part or whole) by the UK Web Archive? Which disciplines do people think could make most use of the UK Web Archive and why? What tools or analytical techniques should we be considering? How might the research opportunities of a selective Web archive differ from those of a domain-level Web archive? We will be very interested to hear people’s views."


If you have an interest in research uses of Web archives and would like to attend this UKOLN Seminar, please contact UKOLN Events via as soon as possible to find out if places are available. Registration is free.

The Speakers

Maureen Pennock

Maureen Pennock is the Engagement and Liaison Manager for the UK Web Archive, based at the British Library. She joined the British Library in 2008 as preservation project manager for the Web Archive and, after a brief stint as a digital curator, returned to the Web archiving team earlier this year. She has a long career in digital preservation and curation, having previously worked at UKOLN for the Digital Curation Centre (2005 - 2008) and in the Netherlands (2001 - 2005) on earlier digital preservation projects. She has spoken at numerous conferences and published widely on several different aspects of digital preservation and curation, ranging from authenticity and lifecycle management, to email preservation and archiving Web sites and blogs. She can be contacted at and is @mopennock on twitter.

Ed Pinsent

Ed Pinsent is an archivist and records manager based at the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC) with many years' experience in digital preservation and Web archiving. He has been collecting archive copies of JISC project Web sites since 2005, via the UK Web Archive; as part of this, he has dealt with issues of rights clearance and crawler management. Ed also contributed substantially to the JISC Preservation of Web Resources Handbook, managed the AIDA (Assessing Institutional Digital Assets) Project and contributed to the CARDIO Project on managing research data. Ed also teaches several modules for the Digital Preservation Training Programme, and in 2011 has done consultancy work for the Parliamentary Archives, the Women's Library, and others.

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