David Berry's slides from Digital Conversations event on 26/09/2013


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David Berry's slides from Digital Conversations event on 26/09/2013

  1. 1. Scholarly Use of Web Archives Web Archives Dr. David M. Berry University of Sussex
  2. 2. Web Archives • Interested in theorising computational approaches in A&H and social sciences – digital humanities, etc. • Digital is becoming a research programme and how the condition of possibility for research. • Starting premise is to avoid the dangers of a “truth machine” – critical approaches to the digital (Liu).
  3. 3. Web Archives • We are moving into what might be thought of as a third wave in the use of computational media in relation to archives. • The first was mass digitalisation and curation of digital content. • The second was the curation of born-digital content and the web as an archival source.
  4. 4. Web Archives • But now we need to think about how to develop new kinds of cultural practices in relation to digital archives. • This includes the use of scholarly archives in combinatory forms, new forms of access (APIs), digital humanities approaches such as distant reading, etc. • In other words thinking about post-”web” archiving techniques and practices.
  5. 5. Web Archives • But also a closer attention to the materiality of these digital forms, for example investigating the extent of “lock- in” manifested by previous technical decisions. • This also means moving beyond the “comprehensive” mentality of web archives and towards “accessibility” and “practices”
  6. 6. Web Archives • This requires the archivist to augment existing skills and shift from a notion of a “static” archive towards an “archive in motion”. • New forms of digital engagement also mean that existing disciplinary apparatus in relation to the archive may be insufficient or unproductive for digital methods.
  7. 7. Web Archives • Scholars too are grappling with the possibilities and methods that are transformed in using digital archives. • This includes questions of access, throttling, closed standards, refreshing archives (and formats), and so on. • This materiality of the digital archive therefore needs to be kept more in mind.
  8. 8. Web Archives • Especially when we consider that we need to cope with what might be called the “dark web”, that is DRM and difficult to find materials. • How to handle the plethora of formats, structures, and so forth, esp. negotiating the interconnected nature of network media.
  9. 9. Web Archives • It is often taken for granted that if you build digital archives then people will use them. • This is not necessarily the case, and the lessons from the software industry is that users need to be educated in how to use technology. • This is inevitably hard work in interface and API design, sample code, lectures and so forth.
  10. 10. Web Archives • But there is a lot of potential in new web archives, particularly if they have the commitment to open access and open data and can open up historical “closed” materials. • Especially if they can be built around a community of use (scholarly or otherwise), which develops a user base and expertise for others to draw from.
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  13. 13. / end /