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Next Live Stream: Web archives: a new class of primary source for historians?

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The next live stream will be a joint session from the Digital History seminar and Archives and Society seminar.  Details follows:


Web archives: a new class of primary source for historians ?
Peter Webster (British Library) and Richard Deswarte (University of East Anglia)
 Joint Archives and Society and Digital History seminar
11 June 2013, 5.15pm GMT

Abstract:  When viewed in historical context, the speed at which the world wide web has become fundamental to the exchange of information is perhaps unprecedented. The Internet Archive began its work in archiving the web in 1996, and since then national libraries and other memory institutions have followed suit in archiving the web along national or thematic lines. However, whilst scholars of the web as a system have been quick to embrace archived web materials as the stuff of their scholarship, historians have been slower in thinking through the nature and possible uses of a new class of primary source.

In April 2013 the six legal deposit libraries for the UK were granted powers to archive the whole of the UK web domain, in parallel with the historic right of legal deposit for print. As such, over time there will be a near-comprehensive archive of the UK web available for historical analysis, which will grow and grow in value as the span of time it covers lengthens. This paper introduces the JISC-funded AADDA (Analytical Access to the Domain Dark Archive) project. Led by the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) in partnership with the British Library and the University of Cambridge, AADDA seeks to demonstrate the value of longitudinal web archives by means of the JISC UK Web Domain Dataset. This dataset includes the holdings of the Internet Archive for the UK for the period 1996-2010, purchased by the JISC and placed in the care of the British Library. The project has brought together scholars from the humanities and social sciences in order to begin to imagine what scholarly enquiry with assets such as these would look like.

Biographies:

Dr Peter Webster is web archiving and engagement and liaison manager for the British Library, and an historian of contemporary Britain.

Dr Richard Deswarte is Research Associate in the School of History at UEA. He will speak about his AADDA project which examines how the Web Domain Dataset can be used to explore the rise of British Euroscepticism. He will highlight some of the digital approaches and wider research goals from his initial exploratory work using the archive.

To join us on the live stream click on the podcast page of History SPOT and open up the pop out boxes on 11 June.

Additional resources:

The AADDA project blog