One year and two months ago, in November 2016, the newspaper The Brunei Times (BT), closed and took down its online news website along with its exit. This website was chock-full of BT news articles dating back to 2007. It didn’t have the slickest of website designs, but it was functional, had a good search facility, and was mostly reliable. It was also well-indexed and likely to come up at the top of online search results, making it easy to find information; whether you were a student or researcher, running a business or getting work done, or just looking for information.
Newspaper resources are available at libraries for reference, but for many of us, BT’s online archives are sorely missed. We used to be only a Google search box away from finding the article we wanted. It is not always easy to find current, authoritative information about Brunei online.
So for anyone still struggling with the loss of BT’s website, this is a brief guide that will help you search for copies of BT’s online articles. (Spoiler: There is a flowchart! And a little bit of work ahead.) Good luck!
What You Need To Know
As far as I know, there is no complete archive or mirror of the BT website that is publicly available online. The online sources used in this guide certainly cannot replace newspaper archives kept by libraries.
There are some websites, such as the Wayback Machine (web.archive.org) and archive.is (archive.is), that archive, or save an online copy, of other websites. There are also websites that make copies of files from the BT website, such as e-paper PDFs. These archival websites made copies when the BT website was still up and running. Most of these websites are run in the interest of public access to information and not for profit.
See the section “Four sources” for a little description of each of these sources.
Many of you will probably look for articles based on one or more of these:
- an old BT URL
- a headline
- date(s) of an article
- subject matter, keywords
See the section on “Four pieces of information” to see how each type of information shows you which sources you need to use.
You don’t! You can start your search in different ways:
- Looking for a specific article? Start with the pieces of information do you have. From there, figure out what source you need.
- Want a more general search? Browse a source instead, for example by month and year.
The flowchart gives you specific steps to follow, which may be helpful to some people but feel constraining to others. I have found it useful if I really want to find something, because it means searching more than one source.
I originally had a section on using the Google search engine, specifically Google Cache, to find old URLs. Unfortunately, it eventually became unreliable – Google inevitably began clearing its caches about half a year after the BT website shut down.
You may encounter them in the wild – an old blog post, a Wikipedia article, an article reference, and so on. You can also find them from archived pages, for example, here’s the front page of the BT website on the day of 21st March 2015, containing many links to BT URLs.
This article is only a brief guide. Instructions for other sources will be posted in the future as an appendix.
I do believe that knowing how to use Wayback Machine (web.archive.org) is your most valuable starting point, as it contains the largest number of archived BT website pages.
If you get the hang of searching with the Wayback Machine and archive.is, you should also be able to use them to search for missing articles from other news websites too. This is relevant to, for example, the Borneo Bulletin’s website (borneobulletin.com.bn) and Pelita Brunei’s website (pelitabrunei.gov.bn), for which I noticed many of their articles before 2017 are inaccessible.
Four Info Types, Four Sources
Four pieces of information
So you’re looking for a specific article. What information do you already have?
|Type of information||Example||Sources you can use|
|Original URL on The Brunei Times website||http://www.bt.com.bn/home_news/2009/
|Headline||Students eager over UBDfm||
|Date||19 Mar 2009||
|Keywords||UBD, radio network, UBDfm||Use a search engine to get a URL, Headline or Date|
If you’re not looking for a specific news article, but are looking for sets of articles from a section (Business, Sports, Features) or column (On The Road, Refresh) or a specific author, this is possible from some of the sources I use in this article. However, I will not be covering them specifically.
So, you should now know which sources to use, based on what type of information you already have.
You will mainly be using one or a combination of four sources. In this article, I will only explain how to use the Wayback Machine.
Again, reiterating my major disclaimer at the top of this article: It is not guaranteed you will actually find the article you want. None of these sources have a complete copy of The Brunei Times.
|Wayback Machine||Archiving Service||http://web.archive.org/
There is a beta keyword search feature:
|The BT Archive||Unofficial Archive||http://btarchive.org/
(links to “National” news)
|An Unofficial BT Archive||Unofficial Archive||https://thewheat.github.io/brunei-times-archive/
About each source
The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is an immense source of internet history. Do you remember that website you frequently visited in 2008? That flash game website, or that blog, or that forum? It might be archived here.
Working “snapshots” of websites are saved in the Wayback Machine and organised by date. Archiving used to happen only when your website happened to be picked up by an automated web crawler. Luckily, these days, it is possible to submit a URL and have it immediately archived instead of waiting for a web crawler.
More information: Wayback Machine FAQs
BT article stats:
- Almost 128,000 snapshots (may include images, files, and non-article pages)
- Dates applicable: Oct 2007 – Nov 2016
Similar to the Wayback Machine’s service above, archive.is (also called, and accessible through, http://archive.today) can also save copies of webpages.
It also takes a screenshot image, and it can sometimes archive websites that the Wayback Machine doesn’t.
BT article stats:
- 680 snapshots. Not actually a lot, but worth a shot if you don’t manage to find your article in the Wayback Machine.
- Dates applicable: Jan 2008 – Nov 2016, but much sparser than the Wayback Machine.
These resources were scraped by volunteers before The Brunei Times website shut down on 7 Nov 2016, one day after the newspaper shutdown was announced.
More information: Web scraping entry on Wikipedia
1) The BT Archive (Link to “National” news): A website that displays BT articles in a similar format to the website’s structure, using the same section names and categories. There is a little extra too, such as listing of articles by author name, and estimated reading times per article.
- An estimated 10,000 articles (might include archive/metadata pages)
- Dates applicable: Oct 2007 – Nov 2016
Visit website As of this article’s date, the website’s home page was not accessible, and on 10th March 2018 the button has been edited so it links to the “National” news section. Here is an archived copy of the website’s home page.
2) An Unofficial Brunei Times Archive (Link): An archive listing the e-papers (digital daily issues) of The Brunei Times. The e-papers are stored in image (JPEG) format on Flickr. The e-papers can be browsed by date, and there is a nifty cover view as well.
- Over 1,100 days of e-papers
- Dates applicable: Oct 2013 – Nov 2016
Sometimes, other websites – news sites or archives or otherwise – will also have archived or mirrored BT news articles. A source like the Asia News Network website, for example, contains under 200 articles sourced from BT, mostly from 2016.
The main four sources I’ve chosen are Wayback Machine, archive.is and the unofficial archives, as they are consistent and possess a significant bulk of archives.
If you know of any other good sources, do let us know!
If you’re using multiple pieces of information and multiple sources, this flowchart might help. (Click for the full version)
How does it work? Start at the blue “Start” circle; follow the arrows, and work your way through.
I mean, someone could probably build an app or something based on this flowchart? Yes? (Psst, tell me if you do!)
Searching with the Wayback Machine
Now, time for a little searching.
By now, you should have figured out which sources you’ll be using and the likely paths you might take along the way.
- If you already know what to do with said sources and tools, you’re done! Off on your way.
- If you’d like a little more help, then here we go.
What follows is an explanation of using the Wayback Machine.
Directly search with URL
If you have the original URL of the article (you struck gold, friend), this is the most direct way you can search for a copy of the article. You can try these steps.
What to do:
- Go to http://web.archive.org/
- Paste your URL into the search box
If found: Calendar view shows how many times, per day, month and year, that a snapshot of that URL has been captured. Click one of the dates to see the snapshot on that date.
If not found: Wayback will say it doesn’t have it!
There are a number of alternate subdomains that were used by The Brunei Times throughout the years. Generally, we can switch up subdomains in the URLs, for example:
http:// [subdomain] /news-national/2012/07/01/gearing-hms-birthday
So if one subdomain (e.g. www.bt.com.bn ) gives no results in Wayback, you can continue your search by replacing [subdomain] with another subdomain (e.g. archive.bt.com.bn ).
The following subdomains* are applicable:
- www: In the Wayback Machine, searching for a URL beginning with www.bt.com.bn and bt.com.bn will give the same results. So you only need to try one of them! Example, just search one of these URLs instead of both:
- http:// www.bt.com.bn /business-national/2016/07/31/excessive-raya-spending-and-road-financial-recovery
- http:// bt.com.bn /business-national/2016/07/31/excessive-raya-spending-and-road-financial-recovery
- m.bt.com.bn: The mobile version of the BT website, there are 1,679 snapshots available on Wayback Machine. Only articles from 2013 onwards are applicable. Worth a try if you don’t find your article with the www subdomains.
Only try these subdomains* if you’re desperate – there aren’t many snapshots using them!
- mail.bruneitimes.com.bn: There are 883 snapshots, although only half appear to be article snapshots.
- archive.bt.com.bn: This appeared to be BT’s own archive website for their articles. The Wayback Machine only has 172 snapshots from this subdomain. Only articles in 2013 are applicable.
(* Some of you may notice that these are not all subdomains, so this is for simplicity’s sake!)
Browse by date
If you have the article’s exact date or an idea of the month or year of the article, you can try these steps.
(The instructions below assumes that the news article you are looking for was categorised as national news. In this article, I won’t be including a full list of other categories.)
This takes a little while, but will make sense once you get the hang of it! Overview:
- Get the URL
- Paste the URL into your web browser
- Browse the archive search results
- (Optional) Search with other subdomains
(1) Get the URL
So you have the article’s published date. Great! Even if you only have the month, or just the year, it is possible to browse the archives.
Next, you need to create the URL based on the date.
Here is the template for browsing URL snapshots, based on Wayback Machine’s URL and The Brunei Times’ URL structures:
- http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://bt.com.bn/ [directory] / [date]
- http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://bt.com.bn/ [directory] / [date]
Use the table below to figure out how to replace [directory] and [date] in the template.
For 2007 to 2009, directory is home_news :
|Year||Month||Day||URL Directory||URL Date||Description|
|2007||–||–||home_news||2007/*||Browse the year 2007|
|2007||Oct||–||home_news||2007/10/*||Browse the month of Oct 2007|
|2007||Oct||13||home_news||2007/10/13/*||Browse the day of 13th Oct 2007|
For 2009 (yes, there is an overlap with the above period) to 2016, directory is news-national :
|Year||Month||Day||URL Directory||URL Date||Description|
|2010||–||–||news-national||2010/*||Browse the year 2010|
|2010||Feb||–||news-national||2010/02/*||Browse the month of Feb 2010|
|2010||Feb||12||news-national||2010/02/12/*||Browse the day of 12th Feb 2010|
(Note that home_news uses an underscore ‘_’ while news-national uses a dash ‘-‘)
So, if the article you’re looking for was in January 2009, it’s possible to have been archived under either home_news or news-national directory.
In this case, you might try both the URLs below:
- http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://bt.com.bn/ home_news / 2009/01/*
- http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://bt.com.bn/ news-national / 2009/01/*
(2) Paste the URL into your web browser
If you followed the above steps, you will now have a usable URL! Paste it into the address bar of your web browser.
From above example, my URL will be: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://bt.com.bn/home_news/2009/01/*
(3) Browse the archive search results
Does Wayback Machine contain any archives from this period?
If yes: A list of search results will show, as above. You can even further filter results in the filter box (e.g. type in keyword “council”, or date “01/01”). If you find the article you’re looking for, click the URL to view the archived snapshot of the article. Yay!
If not: No results will be shown. Aww.
(4) (Optional) Try with other subdomains
If you’ve understood the concept of subdomains in “Directly search with URL“, you can try them here as well. So, to browse national news in 2013 under archive.bt.com.bn and m.bt.com.bn , you would visit both:
- http://web.archive.org/web/*/http:// archive.bt.com.bn / news-national / 2013/*
- http://web.archive.org/web/*/http:// m.bt.com.bn / news-national / 2013/*
For archive.is, The BT Archive, and An Unofficial Brunei Times Archive, I will not expand on specific instructions in this article. They will be posted in the future as an appendix. (If there isn’t a link here yet, they haven’t been posted yet!)
I may accelerate the process if anyone actually contacts me to let me know you actually want these instructions 🙂 Send a message through our contact form!
Appendix A: Other categories of news
As I mentioned in “Four pieces of information“, this article only covers news that were categorised as national news, and were published in BT’s “National” section.
For other sections, you might have noticed that the original BT URLs often already include the section name, for example:
- http://bt.com.bn/ business-national /2014/01/30/bsp-improving-tender-process
- http://bt.com.bn/ sports /2013/12/03/jeffers-set-dpmm-fc
You can use this and the techniques given in “Browse by date” to find articles in other sections.
You can also browse sections by name in The BT Archive – start from the “National” news section.
Appendix B: BT subdomains archived by archive.is
If you plan to search the alternate subdomains (see “Directly search with URL“) with archive.is, don’t bother! I’ve found that it only has a mere 18 snapshots of local news and articles from the alternate subdomains archive.bt.com.bn , m.bt.com.bn and mail.bruneitimes.com.bn . I’ve compiled all 18 snapshots here:
Count of articles under respective BT subdomains:
- m.bt.com.bn: 4
- mail.bruneitimes.com.bn: 11
- archive.bt.com.bn: 3
All 18 articles:
|Date||Links: Archived (on archive.is) & Original URL|
|Dec 26, 2015||Archived: Christians Celebrate X’mas In Brunei
|Jun 10, 2015||Archived: Md Fakhri Sets New Record
|Aug 18, 2014||Archived: JUST IN: State Mufti to deliver talk on Brunei’s Syariah Law at Universiti Islam Malaysia
|May 26, 2014||Archived: Family-Run Business Strikes Success By Keeping Lanes Ablaze
|Feb 23, 2014||Archived: 19 Islamic words not allowed to be used in other religions
|Oct 19, 2013||Archived: New Lexus ES models unveiled
|Sep 11, 2013||Archived: Hendra fires DPMM FC into final
|Jun 26, 2013||Archived: IBM, UBD ink deal for energy-saving research
|Jun 25, 2013||Archived: Health ministry issues haze advisory
|Jun 20, 2013||Archived: UBD FASS-COP Human Library Project launches mini library in Temburong
|May 23, 2013||Archived: Condolences expressed on the demise of Brunei’s former Chief Justice
|May 10, 2013||Archived: Temburong bridge ready 2018
|Apr 17, 2013||Archived: Brunei, Philippines to boost ties
|Nov 9, 2012||Archived: BSP purchases 2 helicopters to meet growing demand for logistics services
|Oct 7, 2010||Archived: Barracudas optimistic despite loss
|Feb 13, 2010||Archived: Four-star Brunei Youth end season with victory
|Sep 30, 2009||Archived: Bridging the digital and language divide
|Jan 29, 2008||Archived: Naim Was Only There In Name*
* (OMG so punny)
Appendix C: How to archive with Wayback Machine
How to save a URL in the Wayback Machine:
If the page has already been archived in the Wayback Machine, but you wish to save a new version (because the page changed since being last archived), you can archive it again by typing in the URL http://web.archive.org/save/http://www.url.com in your browser (where www.url.com should be replaced with the URL of the document you wish to save).
Hope that helped! 🙂 If yes, do consider sharing this article, or dropping us your comments below or via our contact form.
In closing, I believe that news and public information should be easily accessible, especially when it contributes to our national archives, as a record for our society. I apologise that this article could not be posted sooner, and hope that it can be of use to those who still need it. Thank you for reading.
Edit 1: This article was updated on 1 Feb 2018 with two new screenshots and captions, as well as additional preamble in the “Searching with the Wayback Machine” section.
Edit 2: The article was updated on 10 Mar 2018 so that links to The BT Archive will lead to its “National” news section.
This work by Open Brunei is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
If you plan to adapt either the flowchart or this article, please have a read on the license. You may send a heads-up through our contact form. Thank you!