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The British Library has unveiled an archive of UK websites (full story) to prevent a black hole. The project has been running since 2004 and aims to avoid “a digital black hole in UK web history”. One of the problems they face is copyright. They hope that Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 will be extended to authorise the Library to gather UK websites for the national heritage without requiring website owners’ permissions. Until then they can only archive a site once they have the owners permission.

The sites archived have to meet certain criteria but you can suggest a site if you like.

2004 is quite late to be looking at UK web history since development started to take off in 1995. Of course The Internet Archive aka The Way Back Machine goes back to about 1996.
I just had a look on there for some of the sites we set up back in 1995. They used to be on there from the start (wasn’t a huge amount to archive back then) with all their pages. UK Index is on there as at 1996, but only has one page indexed. A pity since that site used to host the very first National Trust website. Our earliest site Emoticon‘s earliest entry is now 2000,the earlier versions used to be there for all to see, but no longer.
Of course it is difficult to archive websites. They are continually changing (as an aside Sightsavers International have just unveiled their new design to celebrate their 60th Anniversary, take a look – very nice) especially with social interaction we see to day.
So, read about the British Library Web Collections and take a look (http://www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/) . As by next year they hope to have have archived just 6,000 of an estimated 8m sites, or 1% of the total if you want to ensure that your site (or its versions) is stored for posterity then it’s probably up to you to do it yourself.
Out of interest, which UK sites would you like to see archived?

Birmingham Royal Ballet published their planned productions for the Birmingham Hippodrome today and you can find the listing here.

What is great, for us, about this is that it shows some of the new features in Masque Repertoire (our content management system for the performing arts), allowing all the information about a production to appear on one page together with links to the booking pages on the theatres web site. Take a look at the Romeo and Juliet page to get the idea.
This is just the first phase in our redevelopment with lots more features being added. We have worked closely with BRB for several years to develop a system that is easy to use and quick to update when you have more information to impart.
From a technical point it has been a fascinating challenge to get the underlying database structure correct and then to build the web program to bring this all together into the web pages – depending on what’s coming up performance wise this might generate 1,500 pages or more – and is handling about 5,000 page views a day.

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Birmingham Royal Ballet has one an award for Director David Bintley and his ballet E=mc² at ITV’s The South Bank Show Awards.

“Based on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, E=mc², choreographed by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Director David Bintley, enjoyed its world premiere at Birmingham Hippodrome in September 2009 as part of the triple bill Quantum Leaps and delighted audiences during the Company’s autumn 2009 tour.”

“E=mc² is set to a specially commissioned score by Australian composer Matthew Hindson with costumes by Kate Ford and lighting by Peter Mumford and was inspired by the book E=mc²: A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation from author David Bodanis.”

read the full story here

If you get a chance to see this show – don’t miss it.