Old e-gov links are being preserved
20 November 2009
The National Archives has started to redirect users who have clicked a broken link on a government website to ensure they reach the information they are after.
Its Web Continuity project uses redirection software installed by government departments which automatically takes people to the location of the information they need in the government's archive. National Archives keeps more than 340 million electronic documents from government websites dating back to 1997, and it now archives all central government websites three times a year.
So far the National Archives said it has redirected more than six million hits a month. It said the project has helped millions of users who would previously have not accessed the information they wanted as the data would have been deleted once the link was changed.
So far six Whitehall departments and National Archives have installed the redirection software. They are the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department for International Development, HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Dr Amanda Spencer, head of web continuity at National Archives, said: "When it was first created, the internet was often regarded as ephemeral. Websites weren't viewed as records which needed to be preserved.
"However, as the internet has developed to be the predominate source of government information for most people, this has changed. Today, some information only ever exists online and as the experts in preserving the future of history, we have had to adapt."