The British Library has recently launched the UK Web Archive, offering access to a huge range of web content that otherwise might have disappeared into a ‘digital black hole.’ Despite being plagued by legal issues currently hindering them from recording much more than 1% of the 8 million websites in existence, the project is an exciting move that has the potential to provide hugely valuable insight into digital trends and behaviour that might otherwise have been lost.
The archive’s ‘special collections’ collate websites on a particular theme, housing everything from the credit crunch to the forthcoming 2010 election. For brands looking to create relevant campaigns that communicate the right messages at the right time, this could be an excellent future resource to help shape online activity that is based on proven behaviour patterns in certain categories and situations.
Aside from its benefits for those of us in the marketing & PR industry, what’s also fascinating about the web archive is that it highlights how integral everything digital has now become to our culture. In the classrooms of the future, children won’t need a textbook to explain the effects of the credit crunch. Instead they’ll be able to read about it firsthand through blogs, Facebook posts and mobile video footage.
For Generation Z, history lessons are set to become much more exciting.