What we collect is more than screenshots or code.
We try to capture every site exactly as it is, in as much depth and detail as possible.
A website is crawled by our “robot”
The heretrix webcrawler crawls over every part of a website (which is also how indexing for search engines works).
All elements of the site are downloaded
Text, images, documents, layout… everything that is publicly available on the site is downloaded.
An exact copy of the site is created
The archival copy of the website can be browsed with all the functionalities of the original.
In time, with every copy of a website, the archive will form a timeline for a website, which can be naviguated via our Wayback Machine.
Is your website already part of the
Luxembourg Web Archive?
Here is a simple checklist to see whether your website might,
or should be part of the Luxembourg Web Archive.
We have our methods
Domain crawls are operated twice a year and create a snapshot of the all “.lu” addresses plus additional lists of websites determined by the Luxembourg Web Archive.
These crawls cover a large number of websites at once, but can be tardy in capturing sites that are changing at a rapid pace or may have disappeared between two harvests.
Event collections try to harvest as much information as possible about a certain event over a limited time frame.
The seed lists for event crawls are restrictive, but the frequency of captures will likely be higher.
There is always a start and end date to event crawls, which could be determined in advance, (e.g. for elections), or could depend on the urgency of surprising events (e.g. natural catastrophes or Covid-19).
Thematic collections cover a specific topic or field of interest, with a higher priority to the Luxembourg Web Archive. This could be linked to the pace of changing information, or the importance of the topic. The seed lists will expand over time and have additional harvests, complementing the coverage by domain crawls and event collections.
Information for webmasters
The Luxembourg Web Archive harvests websites automatically in accordance with the law of the 25th of June 2004 “portant réorganisation des instituts culturels de l’Etat” and the “Règlement grand-ducal du 6 novembre 2009 relatif au dépôt légal”. Publications in non-material forms which are accessible to the public through electronic means, for instance through the Internet, are subject to legal deposit in Luxembourg.
The websites that are harvested through these means enrich the patrimonial collections of the National library of Luxembourg which can thus collect and preserve the digital publications for future generations.
Every collection, resulting from domain crawls, event or thematic collections is defined by our collection policy.
The different policy components, such as the frame, objectives and contents of the collection, are explained in the following categories.
What is the topic, occasion or motivation behind the creation of the collection.
How broad or narrow is the field of interest for this topic and what is the time frame for harvests.
Strenghts and areas of interest
Different types of websites imply different challenges in capturing their contents. This means that there are necessarily limits to the completeness of coverage in terms of number of seeds, and changes on websites. The indication of selective, extensive, comprehensive or broad coverage on different parts of a collection, helps in understanding the limitations and priorities of the project.
Which seeds are used to build the collection. Which types of websites are included.
Frequency of captures
The number of times, different types of seeds should be captured.
Volume of data and number of documents to be captured.
The types of documents to be found in the collection and possible exclusions
Criteria for foreign websites
Does the topic warrant the inclusion of websites outside of the .lu domain?
How we collect
Based on the experience of event collections from 2017 to 2020 we are able to illustrate the selection criteria that shape our special collections.
We need to make sure to look in the right places to select the right elements for each collection. This means, to determine whether a seed should be included in the seed list. The criteria we set up will help web archive users in following the structure and reasoning behind our special collections. Furthermore, a consistent policy helps with the organisation and search for additional seeds throughout the project.
Is this about the topic in question?
Does the website show information about politics, music, science or whatever the topic of the collection is?
Is this important?
How relevant and important is the website’s content to the topic and how likely is there going to be more interesting information at a later point in time? This is important in determining the depth of the harvest, because not the whole website might be relevant to the topic. It can be difficult to determine how relevant a seed is going to be, so the general approach is to be more inclusive than too selective.
Should people know about this?
This question plays a role in drawing certain lines: for instance, “private” profiles of political candidates on social media, which would not represent them in their function of politicians, would not be included because they only concern their private lives and are therefore not relevant to the topic of politics. These profiles might be publicly visible on social networks, but are clearly not meant to be interpreted in the political context.
Uniqueness of information:
Haven’t I seen this somewhere else?
An important factor in determining the urgency and frequency of collecting websites. Even though the websites of political parties are an essential part of the collection, their content could be rather static and only be updated at rare intervals during the election campaign. Moreover, their content is repeated many times over in press conferences, posters, flyers etc. The more unique information, found for example in personal blogs, video channels, comments, and discussions on social media, would also be more likely to have a shorter life-span on the web, making some of these examples the most difficult to harvest. If there are no major objections in respect to any of these criteria, a website can be added as a seed, which will help in systematically looking for similar websites. Furthermore, this examination gives a first idea on the next step of the archiving process.
Archiving social media
Social media arguably represent some of the most unique content on the web, with no comparable counterpart in print media. For instance, in the context of politics, the campaign information from political party websites, is for the most part also published in brochures, flyers and posters. Social media allow for politicians to have more individual platforms and most importantly, exchanges with the public, other politicians, journalists, etc. Social media are also the most volatile source of information, since new content appears and disappears very quickly. For a number of technical and budgetary reasons, social media are the most difficult and time-consuming part of an election campaign to research and harvest.
While the Luxembourg Web Archive strives to grow over time and expand its inventory of the Luxembourg web space, there are exceptions to this inclusive approach:
– Websites will not be harvested, or only partially harvested, if the technical resources necessary for its archival are not justified by, or out of proportion to its relation to the Luxembourg legal deposit.
– No information will be permanently deleted from the Luxembourg Web Archive. In case of a court decision on the illegality of certain contents, the BnL may have to withdraw access to this content from the browsable web archive.
– Exclusions due to reasons of privacy concerns are generally not applicable. The right to be forgotten is not absolute and does not supersede the right to public information.
– The LWA is not required to ask for permission to harvest and archive websites within the legal deposit. The transparency about interactions with websites is nonetheless important and should be consistent with the LWA’s strategy in relation to the inclusion or exclusion of websites from the archive. During archiving operations, the LWA communicates a URL to website owners, which explains the legal deposit procedure (http://crawl.bnl.lu).