National Library to store websites charting Irish coronavirus response

15 Apr 2020

Image: © senengmotret/

The National Library of Ireland is to start archiving websites that reveal how Ireland is tackling the coronavirus situation.

Various websites in Ireland charting the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic will be saved in archives for future generations to study. The initiative, announced by the National Library of Ireland (NLI), will include websites that capture efforts across the Government, the health sector and Irish society overall.

Director of the NLI, Dr Sandra Collins, said: “The National Library collects all printed material published in Ireland. This means we will have all the newspapers, books and magazines published during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that we will keep them safe and accessible for everyone. As so much of the contemporary record is digital, we are also collecting the websites that tell the story of this moment in Irish life.

“Building this digital Covid-19 collection will ensure that the Irish story of this global pandemic and the efforts of Irish people to combat the coronavirus are collected and preserved for future generations.

“It’s estimated that, on average, a website is changed or deleted within 100 days. If we don’t archive these websites now, much of their contents will be lost forever.”

The NLI said it is also considering ways to capture how individuals have been affected by, and responded to, the pandemic.

‘If we don’t archive these websites now, much of their contents will be lost forever’

“Anybody can help us collect the websites that they think represent the Irish experience and actions taken during this pandemic,” Collins added.

“We invite all those who would like to nominate a website to fill in a short form, which can be found on our website, and email it to us.”

The NLI has been selectively archiving relevant Irish or Irish interest websites and social media accounts since 2007. Since 2011, the NLI has also carried out selective web crawls for major Irish events such as elections and referendums, as well as a range of other topics.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic