The Norwegian Web Archive: Searching and Examining the Web of the Past

Workshop Description

The National Library of Norway and the Digital Scholarship Centre at the University of Oslo Library welcomes researchers to a participatory workshop on how to search and examine historical resources in the Norwegian Web Archive (NWA). The National Library will present three different prototype services for locating and representing resources from the web archive. The participators will be able to test the prototypes themselves, working with practical exercises to inspect various parts of the NWA collection, spanning back to 2001, including resources from political parties, news publications and public sector. Tutorials will be given, demonstrating the prototypes, before participants can practice by themselves. We will provide suggestions for practical exercises, but participants are welcome to explore the services based on their own research interests.


The first service to be demonstrated is a URL-based search engine, allowing researchers to locate resources from specific web domains. This engine can also be used to search for specific media types (mime types), such as text, images, and audio, with different possibilities for filtration. Second, we will present a full-text search engine which allow to search for words and terms in the web archive. Queries work with an index, based on natural language extracted from html-files in the archive. Last, participants can view archived resources in a “Wayback Machine” – a replay service where the archived elements of historical websites can be assembled and reconstructed.

The host will be available for questions and individual guidance during exercises. We hope to discuss a variety of questions and problems, from practical aspects and user experiences to methodological issues. The latter is particularly welcome, as critical investigations of Wayback Machines remains a core issue for scholars engaging with the reconstruction of web pages.

Tentative Programme

09:00-09:15 Introduction to the Norwegian Web Archive
09:15-09:30 Introducing the URL and media type search engine
09:30-10:00 Practical exercise
10:15-10:30 Introducing the full-text search
10:30-10:50 Practical exercise
11:00-11:30 Pitfalls and critical examination of Wayback Machines
11:30-11:50 Practical exercise
12:00-12:30 Debrief: Experiences and discussion



 The National Library of Norway and the Digital Scholarship Centre, University of Oslo Library

Session Format

The workshop will be held in person in Oslo. Participants are asked to bring their laptop computers.


The University of Oslo Library, Georg Sverdrups hus (Humanities and Social Sciences Library), Room “Oasen” – Digital Scholarship Centre (DSC).

Date & Time

March 6th 2023, 9:00 – 12:30 

Intended Audience

Scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences with an interest in web media, the public sphere, technology, culture, politics, or contemporary history.


Follow the link to the University of Oslo’s Digital Scholarship Center and sign up for the on-site workshop.