Interrogating the politics and performativity of web archives

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paperpeer-review


Since the mid-1990s institutions such as national libraries and the Internet Archive have been ‘archiving the Web’ through the harvesting, collection and preservation of ‘web objects’ (e.g. websites, web pages, social media) in web archives [55]. Much of the focus of the web archiving community has been on the continued development of technologies and practices for web collection development [38], with an increased attention in recent years on facilitating the scholarly use of web archives [25, 24, 61]. This research will take a step back to consider the place of web archives in light of ‘the archival turn’ and emergent questions over the ever- expansive role of the archive and the Web in everyday life. First coined by Stoler [81], ‘the archival turn’ denotes a shift from ‘archive as source’ to ‘archive as subject,’ signalling wide-ranging epistemological questions concerning the role of the archive (and the archivist) in shaping and legitimising knowledge and particular ways of knowing. This research proposes to re-situate web archives as places of knowledge and cultural production in their own right, by implicating both the web archivist and the technologies in the shaping of the ‘politics of ephemerality’ [82] that lead to the creation and maintenance of web archives. This study will identify key underlying assumptions about what the Web is (e.g. a ‘Web of Documents,’ ‘abstract information space’), what of the contemporary Web is (or isn’t) being archived, and the relative affordances for web archival practice and scholarly use. Furthermore, drawing on critical approaches to information, Science and Technology Studies and Web Science, this research will engage with the performativity of web archiving, the practices of selection, collection and classification, and the possible implications for a socio-technical understanding of web archives.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 19 Jun 2016
EventACM Joint Conference on Digital Libraries: Doctoral Consortium - Rutgers University, Newark, United States
Duration: 19 Jun 201619 Jun 2016


ConferenceACM Joint Conference on Digital Libraries
Country/TerritoryUnited States


Dive into the research topics of 'Interrogating the politics and performativity of web archives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this