In 2003 the the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the Bodleian in Oxford, Cambridge University library and Trinity College Dublin were given powers under an act of Parliament to make a copy of every free website based in the UK as part of their efforts to record Britain’s cultural, scientific and political history, in much the same way a copy of every book published in the UK has to be deposited in one of the above libraries. However these powers have not been implemented, the Guardian reports. This is known as an e-legal deposit and is necessary to circumvent copyright laws which would normally stop the copying of such websites such as online newspapers.
However, now Margaret Hodge is pushing for the implementation of these powers to stop the losing of data and historical sources from the internet. This is unlikely to happen before the next election due to legal and technical issues, and after yesterday I’m sure Mr Brown has other concerns! This sort of loss of digital history was made clear last year when the old GeoCities free web hosting service was shut down in October meaning one of the first generation of home-made websites has been wiped.
Now, while this news doesn’t have the most direct link to a blog ostensibly about landscape archaeology it does lead rather nicely to this news piece from those bastions of mis-information, The Onion –
While this is rather amusing I think in the future past websites will be used for researching history (and archaeology?), well all the landscapers of the future have to do is read A Place Odyssey!