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NLM Web Collecting and Archiving FAQs

1. Where can I find the NLM’s web archive collections?

NLM’s web archive collections are available through Archive-It at


2. Who can use NLM’s web archive collections?

NLM’s web archive collections are freely available for all to access.


3. Why is the Library collecting web content?

NLM is collecting and archiving web content to support NLM collection development goals, focusing on content documenting topics and events that is increasingly only found on web sites.  These resources reflect the record of scholarship and historical perspectives, and changes in society and technology. Web content is in a state of near constant change, and without attention and priority to collecting, these valuable and unique resources could be lost to future scholarship.


4. What kinds of web content is NLM collecting?

NLM web collecting is guided by the Collection Development Guidelines of the National Library of Medicine and other strategic collecting efforts.

In addition to its own web domain, NLM selectively aggregates and maintains for permanent access web-based materials that:

  • Record challenges and progress in research in biomedicine, including biotechnology
  • Document the practice and teaching of medicine
  • Demonstrate how health services are organized, delivered and financed
  • Chronicle the development and implementation of policy that affects health services at all levels, from top-level policy design to implementation and the experiences of advocacy groups, health workers, patients, and marginalized individuals
  • Illustrate the public perception of medical practice and public health
  • Contribute to the understanding and impact of global health events.

Learn more about web collecting and archiving at NLM, and see a growing list of the Library's web collections at


5. How does the Library collect web content?

The Library has contracted with the Internet Archive to use its Archive-It service to collect web content.  NLM archivists and librarians use the service to specify which web sites to collect, as well as the scope, depth, and frequency of collection.



6. Will all web content be collected indefinitely?

NLM anticipates that a select number of web collecting projects will continue indefinitely. Most collections, especialy those focused around a particular event, will be acquired within a specific timeframe.


7. Why do some web sites in the collection appear to be incomplete?

Web authors have many different ways of structuring their web sites. Images, audiovisuals, and other components of a web page are often pulled from diverse locations. Some parts of a web site may be password protected or otherwise blocked to web crawlers. NLM attempts to collect all the components necessary to render a page faithfully, but it's not always possible.


8. What is the copyright status of this collection?

This collection may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.

The National Library of Medicine is creating web archive collections on events and topics in accordance with NLM fair use policies, which are based upon the Association of Research Libraries' Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries. Principle 8 of ARL’s Code of Best Practices states that “it is fair use to create topically based collections of websites and other material from the Internet and to make them available for scholarly use.”

Content owners are encouraged to contact the collection curators by e-mail at with questions, concerns, or requests. If you are an owner of content that has been harvested for the NLM web archive collections and prefer that your material not be included in the collection, you can opt out of access to your archived site by sending a request to

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

For further information about copyright and NLM, visit and 


9. Does NLM endorse the web sites it collects?

As with the other materials in the Library collections, NLM does not endorse the content of any web sites other than its own.


10. How can I contact NLM about web collecting?

Please contact us at

Last Reviewed: March 14, 2023