Government of Canada’s New Web Archive

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is Canada’s designated national memory institution, with a legislated mandate to acquire, describe, preserve and provide long-term access to Canada’s documentary heritage.  This includes web resources as well as old documents.

If you remember, in 2004, under the Library and Archives of Canada Act, subsection 8(2)  both web and social media were identified as containing Canadian historical and cultural themes and events that should be preserved for posterity.  As we all know, the web and social media comes and goes over time, and LAC is working toward a “Canadian digital documentary heritage”.  This action is referred to internationally as “web archiving,” which is a discipline based on digital preservation and curation that is practiced and advanced by, for example, the 50-plus members of the International Internet Preservation Consortium (of which LAC is a founding member).

As of February 2023, the Government of Canada Web Archive (GCWA) exceeded 120+ terabytes of total data and surpassed over 3.1 billion assets or documents.  That data is now coming online and LAC will begin providing access to all non-federal collections curated since 2005.  A search on this database now includes not only previously available government records, but also the web-archived materials.  To see the list of what is now available through this source, check out this article on the Library and Archives Canada Blog.

Improving your online experience: Launch of the new Government of Canada Web Archive

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