Critical web archive research

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Following the familiar distinction between software and hardware, this chapter argues that web archives deserve to be treated as a third category-memoryware: specific forms of preservation techniques which involve both software and hardware, but also crawlers, bots, curators, and users. While historically the term memoryware refers to the art of cementing together bits and pieces of sentimental objects to commemorate loved ones, understanding web archives as a complex socio-technical memoryware moves beyond their perception as bits and pieces of the live Web. Instead, understanding web archives as memoryware hints at the premise of the web's exceptionalism in media and communication history and calls for revisiting some of the concepts and best practices in web archiving and web archive research that have consolidated over the years. The chapter, therefore, presents new challenges for web archive research by turning a critical eye on web archiving itself and on the specific types of histories that are constructed with web archives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Past Web
Subtitle of host publicationExploring Web Archives
EditorsDaniel Gomes, Elena Demidova, Jane Winters, Thomas Risse
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9783030632915
ISBN (Print)9783030632908
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021. All rights reserved.


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