The Social Life of Web Archives

Project Details


Web archives provide essential windows into the Web experience through time. In principle, these digital archives enable users to trace online communication in ways that are impossible without interventions to preserve online content that is perpetually subject to deletion, platform removal and neglect. Yet, at the same time the preservation of these digital traces enables their reuse in ways unforeseen by original content creators and archivists, posing potential risks to civil liberties and the institutions providing access. This project demonstrates the significance of web archives through a programme of activities designed to increase the impact of my PhD ethnographic research on web archiving, as well as develop a pilot project and follow-on grant proposal on how web archives are being used. By addressing this knowledge gap, the project maps the space between the stated objectives of web archives – as ‘repositories’ of the Web’s past – and their actual use, by studying how they become embedded in particular social worlds, value systems, technologies and politics that structure everyday life online.
Effective start/end date1/10/2030/09/22

Structured keywords

  • Digital Societies


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