Finding Previous URLs

Today’s Tip is a story: I was asked to find what a particular web-available document would have read in the early 2000s.  This is a pretty typical request for a law librarian. The general strategy:

  • Is the current version on a website? (yes)
  • Is the point in time version archived on that site? (no)
  • Plug the site into Internet Archive and locate.

Which works unless the domain for the website has changed.  If it has, where do you find the previous website address?  Here are a few tips:

  • If it is a business or organization that publishes something, look in their publications from the time prior to when their website capture on Internet Archive starts.
  • Textbooks on the topic you are interested in (from the time preiod required) may have an appendix that includes websites.
  • Historical copies of books like The Canadian Almanac and Directory may have your URL.
  • A last resort would be a search of court or tribunal decisions for your target and “www” (remember when we used to put that in a web site address?)

Happy hunting.

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