Introduction

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.

archive.is Screenshot of BT website 6 Nov 2016

Snapshot of The Brunei Times website on 6 Nov 2016, as archived by archive.is website. Full snapshot can be seen here: http://archive.is/avZT6

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 To Expect
  1. You will primarily learn to use the Wayback Machine (web.archive.org) and be aware of other sources to look into.
  2. These sources help you to search for the article, but does not guarantee you will find it. It’s possible that the article you are looking for has not been archived online.
  3. If the article seems incomplete, it’s because I had wanted to write a detailed guide, but changed my mind. There were even cute icons! In the end, I found it more valuable for my time (and sanity) to just post what I have completed so far.
  4. If you are interested in possibly adapting, extending or otherwise re-appropriating the guide in other forms, I would be open, and even happy, to see that! I can envision this guide as, say, a web app, or a video or some form of interactive visual guide, or even a comic. *hint hint* Please see the Creative Commons license at the end of this article if you are interested!

What You Need To Know

Is there no full copy of the BT website online? / Can’t I just go to the library?

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.

How can any online copies exist if the website is gone?

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.

What pieces of information do I need?

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.

Why do I need a flowchart?

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.

How do I find old BT URLs?

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.

You only have instructions for Wayback Machine. Where are the instructions for archive.is, BT Archive and E-Paper Archive?

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.

What about Borneo Bulletin or other Brunei news websites?

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/
03/19/students_eager_over_ubdfm
  • Wayback Machine
  • archive.is
  • BT Archive (via headline/date)
  • BT E-Paper Archive (via date)
Headline Students eager over UBDfm
  • BT Archive
Date 19 Mar 2009
  • Wayback Machine
  • BT Archive
  • BT E-Paper Archive
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.

Four sources

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.

Name Type URL
Wayback Machine Archiving Service http://web.archive.org/

There is a beta keyword search feature:
http://web-beta.archive.org/

archive.is Archiving Service http://archive.is/
The BT Archive Unofficial Archive http://btarchive.org/
An Unofficial BT Archive Unofficial Archive https://thewheat.github.io/brunei-times-archive/
(E-papers!)

About each source

Wayback Machinearchive.isUnofficial BT ArchivesOther Sources

Logo - Wayback Machine

Wayback Machine

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

Visit website

archive.is

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.

Visit website

Unofficial BT Archives

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

Logo - The BT Archive

1) The BT Archive (Link): 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.

Stats:

  • 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 was temporarily down. Here is an archived copy of the website’s home page.


Logo - Unofficial Brunei Times Archive

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.

Stats:

  • Over 1,100 days of e-papers
  • Dates applicable: Oct 2013 – Nov 2016

Visit website

Other Sources

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!

The flowchart

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

if_magnifyingglass_1055031

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:

  1. Go to http://web.archive.org/
  2. 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!

Alternate URLs

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:

  1. Get the URL
  2. Paste the URL into your web browser
  3. Browse the archive search results
  4. (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.

Screenshot showing the URL we manually created, now pasted into a browser bar

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?

Screenshot showing 27 search results for Jan 2009 in the Wayback Machine

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/* 

Other sources

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!

Appendices

Appendix A: Other categories of newsAppendix B: BT subdomains archived by archive.isAppendix C: How to archive with Wayback Machine

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.

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

Original: http://m.bt.com.bn/news-national/2015/12/26/christians-celebratex’mas-brunei

Jun 10, 2015 Archived: Md Fakhri Sets New Record

Original: http://m.bt.com.bn/sports-national/2015/06/10/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

Original: http://mail.bruneitimes.com.bn/bookmarks-breaking/2014/08/18/just-state-mufti-deliver-talk-bruneis-syariah-penal-code-order

May 26, 2014 Archived: Family-Run Business Strikes Success By Keeping Lanes Ablaze

Original: http://m.bt.com.bn/business-national/2014/05/26/family-run-business-strikes-success-keeping-lanes-ablaze

Feb 23, 2014 Archived: 19 Islamic words not allowed to be used in other religions

Original: http://mail.bruneitimes.com.bn/frontpage-news-national/2014/02/23/17-islamicwords-not-allowed-be-used-other-religions

Oct 19, 2013 Archived: New Lexus ES models unveiled

Original: http://mail.bruneitimes.com.bn/happenings/2013/10/19/new-lexus-es-models-unveiled

Sep 11, 2013 Archived: Hendra fires DPMM FC into final

Original: http://archive.bt.com.bn/sports-national/2013/09/11/hendra-fires-dpmm-fc-final

Jun 26, 2013 Archived: IBM, UBD ink deal for energy-saving research

Original: http://archive.bt.com.bn/business-national/2013/06/26/ibm-ubd-ink-deal-energy-saving-research

Jun 25, 2013 Archived: Health ministry issues haze advisory

Original: http://mail.bruneitimes.com.bn/news-national/2013/06/25/health-ministry-issues-haze-advisory

Jun 20, 2013 Archived: UBD FASS-COP Human Library Project launches mini library in Temburong

Original: http://mail.bruneitimes.com.bn/news-national/2013/06/20/ubd-fass-cop-human-library-project-launches-mini-library-temburong

May 23, 2013 Archived: Condolences expressed on the demise of Brunei’s former Chief Justice

Original: http://mail.bruneitimes.com.bn/news-national/2013/05/23/condolences-expressed-demise-bruneis-former-chief-justice

May 10, 2013 Archived: Temburong bridge ready 2018

Original: http://archive.bt.com.bn/news-national/2013/05/10/temburong-bridge-ready-2018

Apr 17, 2013 Archived: Brunei, Philippines to boost ties

Original: http://mail.bruneitimes.com.bn/news-national/2013/04/17/brunei-philippines-boost-ties

Nov 9, 2012 Archived: BSP purchases 2 helicopters to meet growing demand for logistics services

Original: http://mail.bruneitimes.com.bn/business-national/2012/11/09/bsp-purchases-2-helicopters-meet-growing-demand-logistics-services

Oct 7, 2010 Archived: Barracudas optimistic despite loss

Original: http://mail.bruneitimes.com.bn/sports-national/2010/10/07/barracudas-optimistic-despite-loss

Feb 13, 2010 Archived: Four-star Brunei Youth end season with victory

Original: http://mail.bruneitimes.com.bn/sport-national/2010/02/13/four-star-brunei-youth-end-season-victory

Sep 30, 2009 Archived: Bridging the digital and language divide

Original: http://mail.bruneitimes.com.bn/home-news/2009/09/30/bridging-digital-and-language-divide

Jan 29, 2008 Archived: Naim Was Only There In Name*

Original: http://m.bt.com.bn/local_sport/2008/01/29/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).

Wikipedia:Citing sources/Further considerations

(Emphasis mine)

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: 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.

License

Creative Commons License
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!

Credits

- Icons from "Circle Icons" set generously provided under GPL by Nick Roach on Iconfinder (as of article date). View iconset at https://www.iconfinder.com/iconsets/circle-icons-1
- Text written with StackEdit. Visit at https://stackedit.io/
- Flowchart created with Draw.io. Visit at http://draw.io/

----- Acknowledgements -----
I am a fervent user of both Wayback Machine and archive.is - if you believe they do good, even important, work, do consider supporting them! Also I'm thankful for the volunteers who gathered and preserved the articles from The Brunei Times for the unofficial archives; do drop them your thanks as well.

Categories: Technology

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