About this Project

This is the home of the Web Archives for Longitudinal Knowledge (WALK) Project, a collaborative effort by the University of Waterloo, the University of Alberta, and York University to bring Canadian Web archival partners together.

Why is this important? Web archives have a lot of very useful information in them! As websites disappear every second on the Web, we need to save sites now. Luckily, we've been saving sites since 2005: even if they don't exist on the live web today, we may have them saved for historical research.

For example, did you know that the Green Party of Canada ran a public blog on their website back in 2008, where anybody could write in? Today, if you try to visit them, you'll receive a "403 Access Denied error"). Look for yourself: on our "advanced search" page, you can search "harper" and "fascist" with a proximity of "25" to see some provocative posts on this Green Party blog (results here).

With literally millions of pages – there are 14,490,355 "documents" in the archive found here – you sometimes need to pull your gaze back to see how ideas have risen and fallen. For example, we can discover how terms like "depression" and "recession" waned and rose over time, through our trends view. We've tentatively found that left-wing groups tended to use the word "depression" more than centrist or right-wingers, who used "recession" more during the economic crisis? There is a literal treasure trove of stories to be found in these collections, limited only by your imagination.

On this site, we currently provide access to the University of Toronto's Archive-It Collection of Canadian Political Parties and Political Interest Groups, which they have been collecting since late 2005. For information on what is within this collection, please see the University of Toronto's page. This site uses the UK Web Archive's shine interface, which they made available here. More collections will soon be forthcoming.

We would love your comments and suggestions. Please contact Professor Ian Milligan (History, University of Waterloo) at i2millig@uwaterloo.ca.

Some Necessary Caveats

The generated results need to be used with caution. As you can see from this example visualization from the political parties collection, the composition of archival collections changes dramatically over time: spikes and valleys may not be representative of actual historic shifts, but changes in the material. Similarly, the random search will be pulling results from tens, or even hundreds of thousands of results - many of which are automatically-generated pages within the web structure of these sites. Always dig into things, and question the results you are getting (which you should do with all databases, of course).

We began with some provocative examples above, but we really do want to stress how you need to use these results with caution. The underlying data is messy. If you really want to get into this material - exploring link graphs, or playing with the plain text of a decade of a political party's website - alternative research approaches such as the warcbase platform might be more fruitful.

Websites Included in this Database

All websites are not included equally, but you may find this list useful. Note the date ranges below - many sites only begin in 2006.

Project Team

This project is brought to you by the Web Archives for Historical Research Group at the University of Waterloo, York University Library, and the University of Alberta Library. Project leadership provided by:

A team of research assistants also provided code, testing, thoughts, and everything else under the sun. Our thanks to Shawn Dickinson, David Hussey, Danielle McDonald, and Jeremy Wiebe.

At the University of Toronto, Nicholas Worby provided access to our collections and on-site help with their Archive-It Account. Finally, at the Internet Archive, our thanks to Jefferson Bailey for facilitating access to this collection.

How to Cite this Material

If you cite a webpage found using this database, please cite it as follows:

If you found it using WebArchives.ca, we would love a mention in your citation as well, i.e. "found via WebArchives.ca." Your discovery method matters.

If citing findings from the Trends graph, please cite the page.


We would like to thank the UK Web Archive for developing this platform, and the University of Toronto Libraries for providing access to their Archive-It Collection of Canadian Political Parties and Political Interest Groups. Invaluable computing assistance was provided by Compute Canada and the York University Library. Our sincerest thanks are also due to Archive-It.

We would also like to acknowledge the generous financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation's Early Researcher Award program. Computing infrastructure is provided by a Compute Canada Research Platforms and Portals grant.

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