We’ve all used the UK Government Web Archive by The National Archives. It’s a great way of viewing a snapshot of a website at a particular moment in time. I’ve used it myself for compiling screenshots of a site’s redesign history.
Do we need something similar on our intranets? Is there a case for going back to a snapshot of the intranet at a particular date? I think there is. And it usually boils down to legal reasons where evidence is required to settle a dispute or clarify information.
Take the example, where a Trade Union rep asks to see a copy of the conduct and behaviour policy from 2 years ago for use in an Employment Tribunal case, operating under the rules in place at that time. You updated the policy on the intranet 6 months ago with a new document from HR, overwriting the existing policy so as not to clog up the intranet with numerous variations of documents. After all, the intranet is not an electronic document management system. There are other platforms outside the intranet to store documents, such as the fabulous TRIM.
Your efficient HR department haven’t bothered to keep the documentation up to date in TRIM. They think the intranet is the place to store endless versions of their documents. So they are up in arms when they discover that you haven’t done their work for them.
You end up having to go to your IT department to restore a backup of the intranet from 2 years ago and you manage to extract the PDF document in question.
Now compare that with being able to point your HR people to your intranet archive where they can navigate back 2 years and get a copy of the document in minutes.