A major archive of British websites has gone live – but not on the web.
Instead, the project can only be accessed in person from a terminal in one of the British Isles’ six biggest libraries.
It follows a decade of legal wrangling between the British Library and publishers.
Restrictions imposed by the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 mean the archive can only be accessed in library reading rooms.
The British Library said that there had been “some discussions into the possibility that the Act might be changed in future so that the archived copies of websites might be made available via the web.
Anyone over 18 is able to get a free pass to the reading rooms and the collection can be viewed at the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the Bodleian Libraries, Cambridge University Library and Trinity College Library in Dublin.
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From Computer Weekly
“Its not a public archive. That’s the absolute key point,” said Angela Mills Wade, who as executive director of the European Publishers Council represented the publishing industry during negotiations.
“The [internet archive] legislation has always been constructed for people who go into the Legal Deposit libraries – for the readers, with a capital R. It’s an archive for preservation and for research,” she said.