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Government of Canada Web Archive

Accessing Information from the Past

The Government of Canada began using the Web in the mid-90s to convey information to Canadians. Over the years, much of that information has been lost, changed, overwritten, or collected in part in a number of scattered resources.

The Library and Archives of Canada Act of 2004 gave Library and Archives Canada (LAC) the mandate to collect and preserve a representative sample of Canadian websites. In December 2005, LAC began to harvest federal websites. Two years later, the Government of Canada Web Archive was launched. Today, LAC systematically archives federal websites in this central site: www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/webarchives/index-e.html.

Public access to the content of the archive is possible through full-text searching, by department name or URL. When it was established, the archive provided access to approximately 100 million digital objects (over 4 terabytes) of federal website data.

Similar archiving is taking place around the world. As an active member on the International Internet Preservation Consortium, LAC works with other national institutions, such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Library of Congress, and the British Library. All are engaged in the same process, as all recognize the benefits of acquiring, archiving and preserving information from the Web.

For more information on the Government of Canada Web Archive, please contact web-archives-webservices@bac-lac.gc.ca or Legal Deposit Internet Unit at 1-866-578-7777 (toll free in Canada and the United States).