The Archived Web
Doing History in the Digital Age
200 pp., 6 x 9 in, 2 b&w illus.
- Published: November 27, 2018
- Publisher: The MIT Press
- Published: November 2, 2018
- Publisher: The MIT Press
An original methodological framework for approaching the archived web, both as a source and as an object of study in its own right.
As life continues to move online, the web becomes increasingly important as a source for understanding the past. But historians have yet to formulate a methodology for approaching the archived web as a source of study. How should the history of the present be written? In this book, Niels Brügger offers an original methodological framework for approaching the web of the past, both as a source and as an object of study in its own right.
While many studies of the web focus solely on its use and users, Brügger approaches the archived web as a semiotic, textual system in order to offer the first book-length treatment of its scholarly use. While the various forms of the archived web can challenge researchers' interactions with it, they also present a range of possibilities for interpretation. The Archived Web identifies characteristics of the online web that are significant now for scholars, investigates how the online web became the archived web, and explores how the particular digitality of the archived web can affect a historian's research process. Brügger offers suggestions for how to translate traditional historiographic methods for the study of the archived web, focusing on provenance, creating an overview of the archived material, evaluating versions, and citing the material. The Archived Web lays the foundations for doing web history in the digital age, offering important and timely guidance for today's media scholars and tomorrow's historians.
Our lives are increasingly dependent on ever-changing online systems. Brügger asks timely questions regarding how the web is archived and curated, and who can access these crucial records of contemporary society. Tackling both theory and method, this book provides a critical discussion of the potentials and limits of web history.
Melissa Terras, Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage, University of Edinburgh
Archiving the web is an increasingly vital scholarly project, one facing a growing array of distinctive challenges. Building on nearly two decades of his leading contributions in these domains, Brügger develops theoretical and methodological frameworks essential to current and future scholarship. The result is a visionary guide and landmark accomplishment.
Charles Melvin Ess, Professor in Media Studies and Coeditor (with Mia Consalvo) of The Handbook of Internet Studies, University of Oslo