A major milestone for LAC‽

That’s how Library and Archives Canada characterizes the return of its renewed and improved Government of Canada Web Archive (GCWA).

“The GCWA is a discovery and access portal for LAC’s collections of preserved web content from the Government of Canada as well as private websites. It launches with the following curated collections:

  • COVID-19. No other organization in the world has documented the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canada to the depth and breadth that LAC has. This collection shows the response from public health agencies, governments, charities and other groups. It also documents the impact of the pandemic on life in Canada.
  • Government of Canada. This collection provides access to most of the Government of Canada web resources captured from 2005 to the present.
  • Truth and Reconciliation. This collection gives access to copies of the websites of organizations involved with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The collection is the result of LAC’s collaboration with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the University of Winnipeg Library, and the University of Manitoba Libraries.”

How well does it’s url web search capture website history of interest for genealogy?

ogs.on.ca had 30 captures, one in 2006, the remainer since 2017. A link to the Internet Archive (IA) web collection shows there it was saved 2,014 times between June 15, 1998 and July 8, 2023.

bcgs.ca had 2 captures, 2019-07-09 to 2021-11-19, the IA captured it 359 times between January 29, 2003 and July 1, 2023.

cangenealogy.com was not captured by the GCWA, although found 281 times between October 8, 2006 and July 7, 2023 in the IA.

This small sample also shows that the IA captured the sites in greater depth so you were able to follow links from the main page.

What about government websites?

gg.ca has 382 captures, 2006-01-31 – 2023-07-01. The IA had 3,510 captures between January 24, 1998 and July 8, 2023.

weather.gc.ca had 112 captures, 2007-11-16 – 2023-07-01; the IA 2,588 captures between February 22, 2007 and July 1, 2023.

What about COVID-19?

ottawapublichealth.ca had 128 captures, 2020-04-07 – 2022-11-04. The IA 1,264 captures  between June 14, 2013 and July 3, 2023, the vast majority in between 2020 and 2022.

My conclusion is that while it’s useful to have an LAC backup, GCWA is not as comprehensive as the Internet Archive. Compliments to LAC for including a link to the IA from GCWA web search result pages.


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