A couple of months ago Jessica Elizabeth Thomas and Stephen Basdeo were delighted to announce that Google had decided to include Reynolds’s News and Miscellany in its Newsstand listings.
Google’s inclusion of Reynolds’s News and Miscellany marked a major milestone in this website’s development, which began in 2014 with Stephen Basdeo, then a Ph.D. student, blogging sporadically from his bedroom.
As long-time subscribers will know—and you wonderful people number about 4,000 email subscribers now—the original name of this website was Here Begynneth a Lytell Geste of Robin Hood, a name which reflected the website’s original theme: brief articles on the history of crime and, in particular, outlaws and highwaymen.
The scope of the content that Stephen was researching, and which he wanted to share with others, broadened and he changed the name of the website to Reynolds’s News and Miscellany, in honour of the newspapers founded by George W.M. Reynolds (1814–79): Reynolds’s Miscellany and Reynolds’s Weekly Newspaper.
Yet more good news was in store for Reynolds’s News and Miscellany, however, for yesterday we received word from the British Library’s digital division that they would be archiving Reynolds’s News and Miscellany for future generations:
RE: The British Library would like to archive the following website:
The British Library would like to archive your website in the UK Web Archive and to make it publicly available. The UK Web Archive was established in 2004 to capture and archive websites from the UK domain and across the web, responding to the challenge of a digital black hole in the nation’s memory. It contains specially selected websites that represent different aspects of UK heritage on the web, as well as important global events. We work closely with leading international institutions to collect and permanently preserve the web, and the open UK Web Archive can be seen at http://www.webarchive.org.uk/.
Obviously both Stephen and Jessica were hugely excited and immediately granted the British Library a licence to archive the content of Reynolds’s News and Miscellany.
The British Library’s mission is stated more fully on their website:
The British Library has been collecting websites since 2005, initially on a selective basis and since 2013 at a ‘whole domain’ level.
The vast majority of the collection is acquired under the Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations 2013. This allows the Library to take a copy of any UK digitally published resource (including websites and social media) and to make that archived copy available at UK Legal Deposit Libraries.
Additionally, we request permission from some website owners to make our archived copy publicly available through our website. This is a small proportion of our total collection but includes some very interesting and significant resources.
Our ‘Topics and Themes’ section contains more than 100 curated collections of websites related to research, life and events in the UK. We work with colleagues at the British Library and legal deposit libraries, as well as researchers, librarians and archivists across the UK to build these collections.
This collection includes only web resources published in the UK. This means all websites ending in .uk, .scot, .wales, .cymru and .london, and any website hosted on a server based in the UK.
We are also able to give access to a collection (SHINE service) of .uk websites 1996-2013 acquired by JISC from the Internet Archive.
The British Library is a founding member of the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC). The IIPC creates collaborative collections, with participation from around the world, to record websites related to trans-national issues and events.
Presumably Reynolds’s News and Miscellany, which includes original articles and essays written not only by the editors but by the likes of Professor Nesvet, as well as reprints of poems and short stories from the Victorian era, falls under the ‘very interesting and significant resources’ section.
In any case, perhaps one day, just as Stephen viewed old copies of the original Reynolds’s Miscellany in an archive long after Reynolds, its founder, had passed away, so too might our website be viewed one day by students long after we’re gone!