Search engine optimised copy could be about to be preserved for the nation, after The British Library announced it will archive online content.
Three other UK libraries will also be taking part in the scheme; the Bodleian Library Oxford, the University Library Cambridge and the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales. The Library of Trinity College, Dublin, will also be involved in the project.
The announcement follows a decade of planning and will eventually archive material across 4.8 million websites. These will include academic journals, news feeds and blogs, with estimates suggesting as many as one billion pages will be archived each year.
Whilst many believe online content is forever, those in SEO know the truth is very different. Lucie Burgess from The British Library explained:
“Stuff out there on the Web is ephemeral.
“The average life of a web page is only 75 days, because websites change, the contents get taken down.”
The library’s head of content strategy continued, saying:
“If we don’t capture this material, a critical piece of the jigsaw puzzle of our understanding of the 21st century will be lost.”
Ben Sanderson, PR head at the library emphasised the point:
“(The public has already) lost a lot of the material that was posted during the 7/7 bombings.”
As a social indicator, what is said on the web is seen as critical for the future. Many analysts believe that if something is not discussed on the web, a partial story can only ever be delivered.
The British Library is urging the public to get involved, and nominate sites to be archived.