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The Web as History

Using Web Archives to Understand the Past and the Present

Edited by Niels Brügger and Professor Ralph Schroeder

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ISBN: 9781911307563

Publication: March 06, 2017

What is this?

The World Wide Web has now been in use for more than 20 years. From early browsers to today’s principal source of information, entertainment and much else, the Web is an integral part of our daily lives, to the extent that some people believe ‘if it’s not online, it doesn’t exist.’ While this statement is not entirely true, it is becoming increasingly accurate, and reflects the Web’s role as an indispensable treasure trove. It is curious, therefore, that historians and social scientists have thus far made little use of the Web to investigate historical patterns of culture and society, despite making good use of letters, novels, newspapers, radio and television programmes, and other pre-digital artefacts.

This volume argues that now is the time to question what we have learnt from the Web so far. The 12 chapters explore this topic from a number of interdisciplinary angles – through histories of national web spaces and case studies of different government and media domains – as well as an introduction that provides an overview of this exciting new area of research.

Praise for The Web as History
'The Web as History is a timely and topical collection jam-packed with interesting research and creative methodological discussions. I am convinced many humanities and social sciences researchers working in similar areas and historians venturing into this field, but also students on different levels – interested in the history of the Web or issues of method – will greatly benefit from reading this volume.'
Nordicom Review


'This book is definitely useful for anyone who wants to analyze site content, or who thinks about how the content of the Internet can be archived at all... [of interest to] anyone who is interested in the Internet as a social phenomenon'
Journal Czech Society (Review translated from Czech)

‘[The Web as History] has shared the first fruit of research and moved on from discussing the impediments to working with web archives. It is a starting point and a fascinating indication of what the enormous richness of the archived web has to offer.’
Internet Histories

‘No other work as cohesively, clearly, forcefully and successfully argues for the Web’s centrality in contemporary society and social science. While scholars of new media tend to turn their attention to the newest and latest new media phenomena, the Web is and will continue to be crucial to understanding online phenomena generally and, just as critically, providing a record of online discourse and events.’
Steve Jones, UIC Distinguished Professor of Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago

Niels Brügger is Professor and Head of the Centre for Internet Studies and of the internet research infrastructure NetLab, Aarhus University. He is co-founder and Managing Editor of the international journal, Internet Histories: Digital Technology, Culture and Society. Recent publications include Histories of Public Service Broadcasters on the Web (edited with Burns, 2012), and Web25, a themed issue of New Media & Society.

Ralph Schroeder is a Professor at the Oxford Internet Institute. Before coming to Oxford University, he was Professor at Chalmers University in Gothenburg. His recent books are Rethinking Science, Technology and Social Change (2007) and, co-authored with Eric T. Meyer, Knowledge Machines: Digital Transformations of the Sciences and Humanities (2015).

Introduction: The Web as History
Ralph Schroeder and Niels Brügger

PART ONE THE SIZE AND SHAPE OF WEB DOMAINS

1. Analysing the UK web domain and exploring 15 years of UK universities on the web  
Eric T. Meyer, Taha Yasseri, Scott A. Hale, Josh Cowls, Ralph Schroeder and Helen Margetts

2. Live versus archive: Comparing a web archive to a population of web pages
Scott A. Hale, Grant Blank and Victoria D. Alexander

3. Exploring the domain names of the Danish web
Niels Brügger, Ditte Laursen and Janne Nielsen

PART TWO MEDIA AND GOVERNMENT

4. The tumultuous history of news on the web
Matthew S. Weber

5. International hyperlinks in online news media
Josh Cowls and Jonathan Bright

6. From far away to a click away: The French state and public services in the 1990s
Valérie Schafer

PART THREE CULTURAL AND POLITICAL HISTORIES

7. Welcome to the web: The online community of GeoCities during the early years of the World Wide Web
Ian Milligan

8. Using the web to examine the evolution of the abortion debate in Australia, 2005–2015
Robert Ackland and Ann Evans

9. Religious discourse in the archived web: Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the sharia law controversy of 2008
Peter Webster

10. ‘Taqwacore is Dead. Long Live Taqwacore’ or punk’s not dead?: Studying the online evolution of the Islamic punk scene
Meghan Dougherty

11. Cultures of the UK web  
Josh Cowls

12. Coda: Web archives for humanities research – some reflections
Jane Winters

‘[The Web as History] has shared the first fruit of research and moved on from discussing the impediments to working with web archives. It is a starting point and a fascinating indication of what the enormous richness of the archived web has to offer.’
  Internet Histories

'This book is definitely useful for anyone who wants to analyze site content, or who thinks about how the content of the Internet can be archived at all... [of interest to] anyone who is interested in the Internet as a social phenomenon'


  Journal Czech Society

'The Web as History is a timely and topical collection jam-packed with interesting research and creative methodological discussions. I am convinced many humanities and social sciences researchers working in similar areas and historians venturing into this field, but also students on different levels – interested in the history of the Web or issues of method – will greatly benefit from reading this volume.'

  Nordicomm Review

‘No other work as cohesively, clearly, forcefully and successfully argues for the Web’s centrality in contemporary society and social science. While scholars of new media tend to turn their attention to the newest and latest new media phenomena, the Web is and will continue to be crucial to understanding online phenomena generally and, just as critically, providing a record of online discourse and events.’ 
Steve Jones, UIC Distinguished Professor of Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago

 

Format: Open Access PDF

296 Pages

ISBN: 9781911307563

Publication: March 06, 2017

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