John Oxley Library’s commitment to preserving and sharing aspects of contemporary Queensland life include collecting not only physical materials but also born-digital resources such as websites. Just how do we go about collecting websites? In short, our web archiving activities involve selecting websites for preservation, preserving copies and making them freely available online by contributing them to PANDORA, Australia’s web archive. When a website is archived, the live site may continue to change or eventually disappear, but the archived version remains as it was at the time it was captured. Many websites we archive are captured periodically, to reflect significant changes over the course of time.
The website of the Premier of Queensland is a good example demonstrating the archiving of a website which has changed significantly over time. We began capturing this website ten years ago when Peter Beattie was the Premier, and since then, numerous copies of the site have been added to the archive. While the live url http://www.thepremier.qld.gov.au/ has remained constant over the past decade, the content of the website has changed, along with the changes of Premier and government. The images below show screen shots of the websites of Premiers Beattie, Bligh and Newman and the archived versions of these are the complete websites and include information about the Premier, government achievements, initiatives, programs, reports and image galleries. Some instances also feature video content.
These archived websites are an important addition to the political history of Queensland especially in our digital era where so much of the information available may only be found online. They help us to look back at our former leaders and gain an understanding of the issues, policies and government directions of the day. Future researchers will also have access to these preserved websites and the value of their content will no doubt increase over time. Visit the PANDORA archive to view all the instances of the Premier’s website archived since 2005.
Maxine Fisher – Queensland Digital Content Coordinator, State Library of Queensland