Posted on June 28, 2018 by staff

Welsh digital history preserved for future generations


Archiving may be all about the past but Wales is about to take its history into the future thanks to MirrorWeb.

The Welsh Government has awarded the Manchester tech firm a three-year contract to digitally archive the nation’s online presence.

This will open up full accessibility for the Welsh Government’s Information and Archive Services team.

The cloud-native web and social media archiving company will preserve the Welsh Government’s web-published content in both English and Welsh, including and all websites of historic and national significance.

MirrorWeb will also preserve a selection of key Welsh Government Twitter accounts, including @WelshGovernment, @LlywodraethCym and @FMWales.

MirrorWeb has developed robust and highly scalable cloud-based archiving and monitoring tools to enable frequent archiving of web and social media assets for businesses in the private sector, as well as public sector bodies.

It allows billions of documents to be indexed at unprecedented speed, making archives fully usable and searchable.

The decision by the Welsh Government to archive the dual-language websites and Twitter accounts will digitally preserve the Internet heritage of the Welsh nation.

It will mean that the preserved digital history is fully indexed and searchable for generations to come.

National archives around the world have been collecting data for decades and are only now beginning to realise that the archives of the future will be born out of web and social media content.

Safely capturing and storing this information is the only way to prevent it being lost completely, and modern Big Data tools and the emergence of cloud computing now enable archives to index the data and derive real value on investment from it.

The project is currently in its early stages, with MirrorWeb having received the Welsh Government’s current historical archive – around 1.8 million pages – amounting to 20TB of data that has now been transferred seamlessly and cost efficiently to the cloud.

The millions of web pages were harvested over the last three years but have now been captured and indexed by MirrorWeb’s proprietary platform in a matter of hours, which will now harvest and preserve the up-to-date data.

“We’re proud to be preserving a future-proof digital record of the Welsh Government’s online activity,” said MirrorWeb CTO Philip Clegg.

“Our website and social media archiving and monitoring platform is built on the cloud and provides the essential infrastructure and capacity to meet the size and complexity of the Welsh Government’s archive.

“This will modernise how the content is captured and stored, and provide the Welsh Government with a reliable, comprehensive and intuitive search service of Wales’ digital history.”

The announcement follows the recent contract award for indexing and archiving the UK Central Government’s online presence to the cloud.

The UK’s National Archives engaged MirrorWeb to capture and transfer a 120TB web archive encompassing billions of web pages in less than two weeks.