Jane Winters: Too much information? - Negotiating the archives of the Web, 17 October 2017, 13:00 – 14:30 (K2084, Building K, Växjö)

Jane Winters, Professor of Digital Humanities at the Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London will give a talk within the emerging field of Digital Humanities (DH) that is a part of the DH Seminars series hosted by the University's DH Initiative aimed at providing a forum for relevant DH discussions in the region and beyond.

About lecturer:

Jane Winters is responsible for developing digital humanities at the School of Advanced Study. She has led or co-directed a range of digital projects, including most recently Big UK Domain Data for the Arts and Humanities; Digging into Linked Parliamentary Metadata; Traces through Time: Prosopography in Practice across Big Data; the Thesaurus of British and Irish History as SKOS; and Born Digital Big Data and Approaches for History and the Humanities. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a member of RESAW (Research Infrastructure for the Study of the Archived Web), the Academic Steering & Advocacy Committee of the Open Library of Humanities, the UK Medical Heritage Library Academic Advisory Group, the Advisory Board of the Digital Preservation Coalition, the Advisory Board of the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure, the Advisory Board of the Academic Book of the Future project, and the Advisory Board of the E-Ark project. Her research interests include digital history, web archives, big data for humanities research, peer review in the digital environment, text editing, the use of social media in an academic context, e-repositories, and open access publishing.


For historians, and researchers in many other humanities disciplines, web archives remain a largely unknown, and certainly underused, primary source. Even within digital humanities, web archives as a focus for analysis have remained on the fringes. It is, however, increasingly hard to imagine how you might study the history of the developed world in the late 20th and early 21st century without turning to the archived web. Web archives are the big data that it will be impossible for historians to ignore, but they pose a formidable set of challenges, ranging from the technical to the legal, and all points in between. The novelty of these challenges is sometimes overstated, but the scale and heterogeneity of web archives can seem overwhelming. This presentation will discuss the difficulties of working with the archived web, using the .uk domain as a case study. There is no single archive of the UK’s historical web, rather there are many archives, which overlap and diverge in multiple and largely unknown ways. The British Library alone has three separate collections of web archives: data purchased from the Internet Archive for the period from 1996 to April 2013, which is fully searchable; material crawled from the web since April 2013 in accordance with legal deposit legislation, to which there is only limited on-site access; and the open, but selective UK Web Archive. Defining the relationships between the multiple archives of UK web space will be essential for our understanding of the possible shape(s) of a national web sphere, and is a necessary first step to more sophisticated quantitative and qualitative analysis. The presentation will conclude by considering the extraordinary richness of web archives for humanities research, and why we should take the time, and make the effort, to understand how they are constructed and what they contain.

The Digital Humanities (DH) Seminar series is aimed at providing a forum for relevant DH discussion in the region and beyond, inspiring collaboration with wider audiences about the emerging field of DH field and University’s DH Initiative, thus both strengthening the DH Initiative’s established network, as well as creating a space for collaboration between universities and cross-sectoral partners at national and international levels.

The Seminars are open to everyone, but please register by sending an email to dh_AT_lnu.se.

Seminars are streamed through Adobe Connect at the following link, https://connect.sunet.se/dhseminars/.

Please find more information at https://lnu.se/en/research/searchresearch/digital-humanities/dh-seminars/.

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