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Accessing Digital Archives: Website Archives

Need Help?

If you are experiencing issues accessing digital files from the Special Collections and would like assistance, please contact our Research and Instructional Services team.

UNC-CH Libraries' Web Archive Collections

The Wilson Special Collection Library and the Art Library at the UNC-Chapel Hill University Libraries have collections that can be accessed online through the Archive-It website. The Archive-It account for UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries is comprised of eight collections:

Further description of some archived URLs or collections can be found by searching the Special Collections on the Wilson Library website.

Tips for Accessing Archived Websites

Page Loads, but then goes blank quickly

Temporarily disabling java in your browser can make the page viewable. This commonly happens with Raleigh News and Observer URLs. The issue seems to be with the way multimedia content is loaded in the live webpage. This webpage from provides instructions for disabling java. Just remember to turn java back to resume normal browser behavior. 

Accessing Video Files

If you cannot view an embedded video on the page itself, there is a good chance that it is accessible through the Wayback Machine.  You should see a link for “Videos” in the yellow banner at the top of the page. Clicking on that link will bring you to a listing of archived video content related to that webpage or website. Most archived video should be related to the website or webpage, but it's possible that extraneous video content may also be present in the results.

Screenshot of the Archive-It Banner on archived websites to show the link to video content.

Search an Archive-It Collection

Searching Metadata

Use the search box to find keywords or phrases in collection metadata, seed metadata, or within the text of archived web pages. 

Searching Full-text

To perform a full text search, click on the "Search Page Text" tab. After clicking on this tab, Advanced Search options will appear on the left side of the page. 

Archive-It Help Center provides more detail on how to use the Advanced Search options. 

Archive-it Collection Groups

Within each of the six Archive-it collections, some archived websites may be further categorized into "groups." Browsing a group can be good place to start looking for content based on a certain theme, topic, or event. For example, in the Southern Historical Collection Web Archives, Keith Lamont Scott / Charlotte Protests, September 2016 is a group containing seeds related to a specific event while the Immigration and Social Justice and Activism groups contain seeds related to a general topic.

Hide Wayback Machine Banner 

If page navigation is obstructed by the yellow Wayback Machine banner, you can hide the banner by clicking on the "hide" link. To bring the banner back refresh the page. 

Screenshot of the Wayback Machine browser banner.