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How to get the best out of the UK Parliament Web Archive

About the collection

This web archive is a collection of ‘snapshots’ capturing the content of the websites and social media accounts of Parliament (and a select few relating to Parliament) at various points over time. Each snapshot reflects what the website or account looked like on the day it was taken.

We currently take three snapshots of the Parliamentary web presence throughout the year. Social media account snapshots are added on an ad hoc basis when account holders change, accounts retire or new accounts are created. This ensures that we have a record of the changing information and style of Parliament’s websites and social media.

As Parliament’s web estate develops over time, inevitably some websites will either be closed or content will be moved to other websites. Web archiving is the process of collecting portions of the World Wide Web to ensure that this information is preserved for future researchers and the public.

Explore the collection

Parliament's web estate contains extensive information on the following topics:

  • Parliamentary Resources
  • Committees and their Business
  • Research Briefings and Policy Analysis
  • Open Data Resources and API
  • Guides to Procedure and Information on Members
  • Outreach and Learning Resources
  • Spotlights on Parliament
  • Working for Parliament

  • Getting started

    Our web and social media archives can be explored via search and browsing. If you have a fairly good idea of the specifics of the page, site or topic you're interested in, it would be best to start with a search.

    Searching

    This is done through key words and phrases. Results can then be further refined by date, keywords or sites. You may notice that sometimes the date a page is archived will change as you click through it. This could be because the page you are looking at hasn't changed since the last capture, or it was not capturable at the time of the crawl and is instead showing the closest capture in time to it instead.

    Browsing

    This allows you to browse the A-Z of archived sites and social media via platform (e.g. Twitter, YouTube or Flickr).Clicking on a site will show you a timeline of dates the site was captured on. Clicking on highlighted dates will allow you to view and browse the archived site.

    Limitations on what is captured

    Sometimes you may find that the content you are expecting is incomplete, absent or rendered incorrectly.

    If a link does not work, it is possible that it is an external link. External links (i.e. links to non-parliamentary websites) are not captured, since they fall outside the scope of the collection. This includes links to .gov resources which are captured by the National Archives on the UK Government Web Archive. Clicking on external URLs from an archived snapshot will lead to an error message.

    Most native website search and filtering functionality will not work in archived snapshots. Whilst every attempt is made to capture all the pages on a site, sometimes they cannot be navigated to directly. In this case, use advanced search if you are looking for a specific phrase or document.

    Other content which is dynamically generated (i.e. content that is generated at the moment a user requests a page and changes based on the behaviour, preferences, and interests of that user), is unlikely to be captured. This is because it is not possible for the web harvesting tools to capture and render this type of functionality. This is often the case with interactive features on a site.