MT.Gov Web Archive FAQ

MT.Gov Web Archive is an collection of Montana state agency websites dating from 1996.  

The Montana State Library uses the MT.Gov Web Archive per M.C.A. 22-1-212 to identify, acquire, catalog, preserve, and provide access to state publications.  State agency websites are regarded as state publications per M.C.A. 22-1-211 (3) (a).  It is assumed that state agencies posting information to the World Wide Web intend for that information to be publicly distributed and understand that it may be downloaded, printed out, and cached by machines and users anywhere. The Montana State Library manages this web archive in partial fulfillment of its statutory mandate to coordinate with state agencies and depository libraries to ensure permanent permanent public access to state publications which in most cases today means the content appearing on state agency websites.  The web archive collection is a companion to the text archive collection of digitized state publications.

Montana State Library staff has developed a list of “seeds” or URLs that serve as starting points for scheduled automated crawls of state agency websites. Library staff uses Archive-It, a web archiving service of the Internet Archive based in San Francisco, California to capture state agency websites.  Heretrix is the open source web crawler.  NutchWAX is the open source indexing software that enables search and Wayback is the user search interface.  Library staff schedule weekly, bimonthly, monthly, quarterly, and annual crawls of state agency websites according to the understood rate of content change. 

You can search either by entering a keyword or a state agency URL or web address. Important search tip: browsing the archived state agency website is often faster than sifting through numerous keyword search results.  

Archived web pages and their URL display a yellow banner that includes the date archived. Note that PDFs and other files do not display as web pages and thus they do not display a yellow banner indicating that they are archived. Sometimes a web archive link will take you to the live web, if it is linked to a page outside the archive.

The following content is challenging or impossible to archive: web-enabled databases requiring user input, information written in JavaScript, streaming audio, streaming video, navigation menus, and dynamic forms. Search boxes within archived web pages will not function.

The state government web has used two domain names --- and --- during the period archived by MT.GOV Connect and at times these domains have overlapped each other.  A third domain named appears to duplicate the other two domains. To do a thorough job of finding in the web collection all state pubs on a given topic, a researcher should check all three domains.

No, the archive.org_bot does not consume much bandwith.  MSL has been crawling state agency websites for several years without any issues reported by state agency web managers.

Our web crawler crawls just external, not internal domains. MT.Gov Web Archive does not crawl test or development web servers.

Content found within MT.Gov Web Archive is considered part of the Montana State Library collection of materials and resources and thus falls underneath the MSL Commission Collection Development Policy. Anyone having a concern about MSL library materials may complete and submit a Statement of Concern as found on page 11 of the MSL Commission Collection Development Policy