"Everything on the Internet can be saved": Archive Team, Tumblr and the cultural significance of web archiving

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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This article frames the cultural significance of web archiving through an ethnographic study of Archive Team and their efforts to archive “Not Safe for Work” posts on the popular social media platform, Tumblr. This research first sheds light on the origins and organisation of Archive Team, a long-running site of web archiving and “loose collective” of volunteers dedicated to saving websites in danger of going offline. I outline two Archive Team “tenets of practice” that reflect and frame an approach to web archiving centred on cultural values dedicated to the preservation of access. Using examples from their efforts to archive Tumblr NSFW, I examine how the entanglement of practice, participants and platform resistance ultimately shapes what was deemed worth saving (and conversely, not). I argue that web archiving is a transformative force that requires attentiveness to who is archiving, but also the cultural dimensions of practice that inform everyday decisions about how the Web is “saved.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-132
Number of pages20
JournalInternet Histories
Issue number1-2
Early online date21 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Web Science Centre for Doctoral Training, Grant No. EP/G036926/1. Further support was provided by the UK Economic and Social Research Council under The Social Life of Web Archives project, Grant No. ES/VO12177/1. I am grateful to varoius colleagues who have informed and shaped this article through their feedback and support, including: Susan Halford, Ed Summers, Shawn Walker, the Special Issue editors and four anonymous reviewers for their extensive engagement with the article and constructive feedback. I would also like to thank key informants and participants from Archive Team, without which this research would not be possible. Any errors of interpretation are my own.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Structured keywords

  • Digital Societies


  • Tumblr
  • web archiving
  • Archive Team
  • NSFW


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