UCL Centre for Digital Humanities


UCLDH ONLINE: The Web Archives Long View

26 May 2021, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

computer with plastic 'eyes', credit Jason 'TextFile' Scott, Flickr

UCLDH are delighted to welcome Valérie Schafer (U. of Luxembourg) and Jane Winters (School of Advanced Study, UoL) for their views on the topic of born-digital heritage and in particular of web archives in context.

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This research seminar aims to explicitly consider that research happens in context. This presentation proposes to address the topic of born-digital heritage and in particular of web archives in context. It aims to question the past, present and future paths of research based on the plethora of born-digital sources that developed from the mid-1990s. Analysis of web archives requires both taking into account the very shaping of these archives - e.g. web archiving in context - and placing research on these web archives in context, from the early studies of the 2000s which focused on the nature of web archives themselves and the methods for studying them to current research that takes them as sources for exploring digital cultures. Thus, the first two parts of our presentation, devoted respectively to the history of web archiving and of web archives in research, will explore the multiple contextual elements at work. These may be related to the Web itself and its evolution, to institutional policies, or to crawling and analysis tools, and understanding them is crucial for addressing the current and future challenges that will arise for researchers, whether they concern transnational approaches, ethical issues or a claim for enhanced contextualization. In conclusion we will broaden the question to digital humanities, and consider why web archive studies have remained relatively marginalised in digital humanities discourse.

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This event is organised by UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, which is part of the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies.

Image credit: Jason "Textfiles" Scott - https://www.flickr.com/photos/textfiles/8273585194/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23535423


About the Speakers

Valérie Schafer

Professor in Contemporary European History at Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History, at the University of Luxembourg

Valérie specialises in the history of computing, telecommunications and data networks. Her main research interests are the history of the Internet and the Web, the history of European digital cultures and infrastructures, and born-digital heritage (especially Web archives).

More about Valérie Schafer

Jane Winters

Professor of Digital Humanities & Pro-Dean for Libraries at School of Advanced Study, University of London

Jane's research interests include digital history, born-digital archives (particularly the archived web), the use of social media by cultural heritage institutions, and open access publishing. She has published most recently on Non-Print Legal Deposit and web archives, born-digital archives and the problem of search, and the archiving and analysis of national web domains.

More about Jane Winters