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Digital Humanities and the History of the Web

Date & Time:
15:00 - 17:00,
Friday 19 May, 2017


In the early days of Digital Humanities one of the defining features and great advantages was the digitisation of objects of study that were not initially digital, such as manuscripts, books, or other print media, and later audio-visual media. But within the last decade the amount of material that is born-digital has exploded — according to figures from 2012 Google processes more than 24PB of data per day, thousands of times the quantity of all printed material in the Library of Congress, Facebook gets +10 million photos uploaded every hour, and over an hour of video is uploaded on YouTube every second. How does this new source environment affect the Digital Humanities? Will the Digital Humanities become internet and new media studies? Based on the argument that digital material is not digital in the same way, just because it is digital this talk will investigate the nexus between the Digital Humanities and web studies that use the ‘reborn’ web, that is the archived web. Based on a distinction between digitised, born-digital, and reborn-digital material the lecture will try to understand how each of these types of digital material affects their possible scholarly use, illustrated by a detailed comparison of the nature of a digitised newspaper collection and web archives. Finally, some of the analytical consequences of these differences will be highlighted with a brief summary of an analysis of the history of the Danish web domain as an example.

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  • Name: Niels Brügger
  • Affiliation: Aarhus University
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  • Bio: Niels Brügger is Professor in Internet studies and Digital Humanities, and head of the Centre for Internet Studies as well as of the internet research infrastructure NetLab, Aarhus University, Denmark. His research interests are web historiography, web archiving, and media theory. Within these fields he has published monographs and a number of edited books as well as articles and book chapters. Recent publications include Histories of Public Service Broadcasters on the Web (edited with Maureen Burns, Peter Lang 2012), Web25, a themed issue of New Media & Society, and The Web as History: Using Web Archives to Understand the Past and the Present (edited with Ralph Schroeder, UCL Press 2017). He is co-founder and Managing Editor of the newly founded international journal Internet Histories: Digital Technology, Culture and Society (Taylor & Francis/Routledge).