Why preserve a website

Lately web sites have become an important information channel for many organisations.

In Sweden governmental authorities are regarded to be official records and, as such, should be preserved. The concept official record is defined in the Swedish Freedom of the Press Act (TF Ch. 2 § 3).

Comprehensive regulations govern the management of official records for governmental authorities in Sweden. The Swedish National Archives state that Web sites, internal and external, are to be regarded as official records, and should be preserved in original format. In turn, this means that archived web sites should be possible to access with the same content and form as when they were created at the authority.

The Swedish National Archives also provides examples of different software that can be used, but they emphasize that the use of specific software does not guarantee acceptable results, it is also crucial to consider the construction of the web site.

Preservation of records also aims at future research. Preserved web sites will be a gold mine for future researchers that want to investigate areas such as trends, use of technology, and development of languages, how humans lived, changes in governmental responsibilities and services, development of e-services and so on.

Other reasons for preservation of web sites are e.g.:

  • The Web sites’ juridical value, as evidence.
  • Information on web sites rarely exists in other forms. Bevarat material kan bygga upp kunnande, analyseras och återanvändas för att effektivisera verksamheten.
  • Studies of historical web sites give a continuous view of what has happened over time in an organization, which can lead to increased trustworthiness.
  • Web sites grow quickly if nothing is deleted. When web site archiving is done, it is possible to delete old web pages.
  • Preserved web sites can be delivered to archives, and still be searchable.
  • Collected/Gathered information can be used for measurements and analyses, e.g evaluations of marketing initiatives.