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Web Archiving

A guide that explains what web archiving is, UNLV's web archiving efforts, and considerations for researchers.

Using web archives in your research

Why should I use archived websites in my research? Web archives can be treated like any other born-digital primary source. Search the Wayback Machine to find archived versions of a website that may no longer be online or to even compare different versions of the same website. Scholars may also wish to perform large-scale analysis of web archives such as using the archived website data (known as a WARC file) to do things like create visualizations or run full-text analysis from HTML files.

An example of using web archives in research is the Web Archives for Longitudinal Knowledge (WALK) project coming out of Canada. WALK allows users to search over 10 years of Canadian political history across dozens of archived websites through one portal.

Web archives have also been used as evidence in court cases like in the 2011 United States v. Bansal where screenshots of Bansal's website was admitted as evidence.

Web archiving can also be used to capture moments of grave national concern, such as the 2017 mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, in order to facilitate future research. An example of this can be found in looking at UNLV's Campus Notification page which is updated to share emergency notifications. An archived capture from October 3, 2017 illustrates how the university was communicating information and support to the campus community during this tragic moment in history.

Beyond the Internet Archive, some other public web archives include the UK Web Archive, the US Library of Congress web archive, Archive-It, and the Portuguese web archive. Below are some additional resources that talk about the importance of web archives.

How to cite an archived website

There are a few examples available online that provide guidelines for citing Wayback Machine URLs. There is no established format for archived websites, but it is recommended to err on the side of more information. In general, you should cite the archived website according to the style guide you are using and then give the Wayback Machine information.


Google Inc.. (1998, December 2nd). Google!.

Chicago Manual of Style

McDonald, R. C. "Basic Canary Care." _Robirda Online_. 12 Sept. 2004. 18 Dec. 2006 . _Internet Archive_. <>.


McDonald, R. C. "Basic Canary Care." _Robirda Online_. 12 Sept. 2004. 18 Dec. 2006 []. _Internet Archive_. []. 


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