About the PRONI Web Archive

Together with the Internet Memory Foundation, PRONI has launched a programme to capture and preserve a selection of Northern Ireland's websites to permanently preserve websites that are of historical and cultural importance to Northern Ireland.

Web archiving at PRONI

A number of websites have been selected to be harvested using a web crawler at various points over time. This selection of websites is reviewed regularly.

If you would like to suggest a website to be preserved please contact:

To find out more about how websites are selected and captured, please see the PRONI Web Archiving Strategy.

PRONI has a Takedown Policy with respect to archived websites, documents or catalogue descriptions.  To find out more, please see the PRONI Takedown Policy.

For technical information and guidance on how to manage and maintain websites to ensure that they can be archived successfully, please see the PRONI Web Archive Guidance Document.

Copyright

Many of the websites in this collection and elements incorporated into the websites (for example photographs, articles, graphical representations) are protected by copyright. The materials may also be subject to publicity rights, privacy rights, or other legal interests.

Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permission ultimately rests with the person desiring to use the item. You will need permission from the copyright owners or rights holders for reproduction, distribution, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Researchers should consult the creators of the websites for information about rights, contacts, and permissions.

If you are a copyright owner or otherwise have exclusive control over materials presently available through this collection and do not wish your materials to be available through this website, please contact:

Why the PRONI Web Archive is needed

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is the official place of deposit for public records in Northern Ireland. PRONI holds millions of documents which relate chiefly, but by no means exclusively, to Northern Ireland. The earliest record dates from 1219, with the main concentration of records covering the period 1600 to the present.
 
In recent years, PRONI has recognised the value of websites produced by government departments and all public sector organisations.  They are of cultural importance, and potentially of great significance for historical research in the future, and should be preserved with the same care and rigour as other documents.  However, the fragility of networked digital content and the rapid rate at which it is created and disposed of means that in order for these materials to remain available in the future, preservation and archiving action needs to be taken now.

In recognition of this, PRONI has launched a project whereby a selection of websites relating to Northern Ireland will be harvested remotely from the World Wide Web using a web crawler, and stored in a web archive

How websites are selected

PRONI does not attempt to collect all of Northern Ireland’s websites but using agreed criteria, selects those that it considers are of significance, have long-term research value and which will reflect the content and variety of information published in this way.  

Websites that PRONI captures are about Northern Ireland, or a subject that is of social, political, cultural, religious or economic significance and relevance to Northern Ireland.

PRONI also considers websites that have a finite lifespan -  for example websites that are due to close or have been set up to cover a specific event in time like a  public enquiry, or major sporting event, or those set up to cover significant events of national importance

Searching and viewing websites

You can search for specific websites on the PRONI Web Archive.

Click on the website you wish to view and this will take you to the ‘Index’ page.  The ‘Index’ page lists the dates on which the particular website has been ‘harvested’ by the web crawler.

The ‘Index’ page will also contain a link to the ‘live’ website, should you wish to look at that.  This is useful for obtaining up-to-date contact information, or news about current events.  Please be aware that the original website may no longer exist, or may not have been updated since it was harvested by the web crawler.

Click on any date on the ‘Index’ page to view that snapshot of the website taken on that date.  

You can browse through the archived site as you would a ‘live’ website, clicking on links, and navigating backwards and forwards through the sections in the site.

The archived site will be distinguished by a white banner at the top of the page, and the phrase: “This is not a live website”. This makes it easy to tell the difference between the archived snapshot of the website, and the ‘live’ version.

You can navigate back to the ‘Index’ page and list of dates for the website on any page of the snapshot by clicking the ‘See all dates available for this archived website’ link in the banner at the top of the page.

Please note that the content you see in an archived site reflects what would have been on the site on the date that snapshot was taken, so some of the content needs to be understood in that context.  For example, contact details on archived websites may be out of date and references to dates and events may not be current.  Please check the ‘live’ website if it is still available, for up-to-date email addresses and telephone numbers and for news and information about current and future events.

Technical limitations of web archiving

The intention when harvesting a website for the archive is to capture the site as completely as possible to reflect how the website looked and functioned at the time the snapshot was taken.  While every effort is made to capture all of the content of the site, including images, documents, web links and video and audio files, there are some technical limitations which prevent the web crawlers from capturing certain types of information.  

Unfortunately, some functionality in websites cannot be captured when the site is being ‘harvested’.  Drop down menus, content which is held within a database, and interactive and animated features may not operate correctly within the archived website.

The ‘search’ function will not operate correctly in the archived website, but users can normally find content by following the links in the navigation menus.

Dynamic content on websites like YouTube and Facebook cannot be captured by the ‘crawler’.   An error message will be displayed where the content is not available.

External links to other websites will not work, as sites are archived individually.  An error message will be displayed where a link is not available.

Different internet browsers give varying display results.  If you are having problems with the display of a particular archived website, try viewing the site in a different web browser.  

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