Archived web is the term for the data storage created by systematically storing content from the web. In daily language use, the terms “Internet” or “web” are often used as synonyms, but strictly speaking they are not. “Internet” means the sum total of technologies which connect computers in a worldwide network, while “web” means content created for and (mostly) by humans, shared and accessed via a network such as the Internet. In this article the word “web” is used in the sense of World Wide Web (WWW) and its domains.
Initiatives for archiving web content as part of the cultural heritage is a result of the same philosophy as that of State Libraries, National Archives, and other initiatives for creating universal libraries: The wish to preserve and gather as much information as possible, with the (impossible) ideal of gathering literally everything.
It is hardly necessary to explain the justifications and advances of universal libraries, where the history of ideas can be traced, near complete collections of thoughts on specific topics derived, lost ideas rediscovered, unchanged originals studied against revised versions, etc.
But since the emergence of the World Wide Web for the public in 1991, the World Wide Web has rapidly become the world’s single largest platform for creating and sharing content – in writing, sound, pictures, video, and software.
The urgent need for starting to archive web content soon became obvious. One of the most prominent initiatives is The Internet Archive founded in 1996. In Denmark, a national archive, Netarkivet, was founded in 2005.