Tweets and videos in the UK Government Web Archive

Did you know from May 2014  The National Archives began to archive tweets and You Tube videos published by UK central government departments from their official Twitter and YouTube social media platforms. There is already a substantial archive of material dating from 2006 captured during a two year pilot project.

Videos can be filtered by year of creation and there is a search facility, as for example, videos from HM Treasury

Tweets are arranged in a date span but cannot be searched, as for example, tweets from the Home Office

Where tweets contain web links these should be operational as long as they are within the UK Government Web Archive. Retweets are not archived as are tweets for non-government organisations that form a conversation. Web links within tweets that are not part of the UK Government Web Archive will receive a 404 or 410 error message that will allow users to see the destination of a link. This may then enable users to search for that link elsewhere.

For more information see the ‘Using the social media archive‘ section on the National Archives ‘Information on web archiving‘ page.

Hannah Chandler, Official Papers Librarian, Bodleian Libraries

Hansard Corpus British Parliament 1803-2005

Using data supplied by the Millbank Systems Hansard database the Hansard corpus was launched on 5th November as British Parliament (Hansard). A free resource, British Parliament (Hansard) was created as part of the SAMUELS (Semantic Annotation and Mark-up for Enhancing Lexical Searches) project by researchers at the University of Glasgow. 

The database allows the user to do very sophisticated word searches, for example:

  • A user can look at how the use of a word decreases, increases in use over time or how words spike in frequency of use.
  • The changing meaning of words and the context words are used in over a given period of time.
  • How individual MPs use language, both in phrases used over a given period of time and what words are commonly used by an MP.

The user will need to cross reference with the Millbank Systems Hansard database if citation information is needed.


Hannah Chandler, Official Paper Librarian, Bodleian Libraries