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Distributed for UCL Press

Web as History

Using Web Archives to Understand the Past and the Present

Distributed for UCL Press

Web as History

Using Web Archives to Understand the Past and the Present

The World Wide Web has now been in use for more than 20 years. From early browsers to today’s principal source of information, entertainment and much else, the Web is an integral part of our daily lives, to the extent that some people believe ‘if it’s not online, it doesn’t exist.’ While this statement is not entirely true, it is becoming increasingly accurate, and reflects the Web’s role as an indispensable treasure trove. It is curious, therefore, that historians and social scientists have thus far made little use of the Web to investigate historical patterns of culture and society, despite making good use of letters, novels, newspapers, radio and television programmes, and other pre-digital artefacts. This volume argues that now is the time to question what we have learnt from the Web so far. The 12 chapters explore this topic from a number of interdisciplinary angles – through histories of national web spaces and case studies of different government and media domains – as well as an introduction that provides an overview of this exciting new area of research.

296 pages | 6 1/5 x 9 1/4

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"Web as History is a timely and topical collection jam-packed with interesting research and creative methodological discussions. I am convinced many humanities and social sciences researchers working in similar areas and historians venturing into this field, but also students on different levels – interested in the history of the Web or issues of method – will greatly benefit from reading this volume."

Nordicomm Review

Table of Contents

"Introduction: The Web as History
Ralph Schroeder and Niels Brügger


1. Analysing the UK web domain and exploring 15 years
of UK universities on the web
Eric T. Meyer, Taha Yasseri, Scott A. Hale, Josh Cowls,
Ralph Schroeder and Helen Margetts

2. Live versus archive: Comparing a web archive to
a population of web pages
Scott A. Hale, Grant Blank and Victoria D. Alexander

3. Exploring the domain names of the Danish web
Niels Brügger, Ditte Laursen and Janne Nielsen


4. The tumultuous history of news on the web
Matthew S. Weber

5. International hyperlinks in online news media
Josh Cowls and Jonathan Bright

6. From far away to a click away: The French state
and public services in the 1990s
Valérie Schafer


7. Welcome to the web: The online community of GeoCities
during the early years of the World Wide Web
Ian Milligan

8. Using the web to examine the evolution of the
abortion debate in Australia, 2005–2015
Robert Ackland and Ann Evans

9. Religious discourse in the archived web: Rowan Williams,
Archbishop of Canterbury, and the sharia law
controversy of 2008
Peter Webster

10. ‘Taqwacore is Dead. Long Live Taqwacore’ or punk’s not dead?:
Studying the online evolution of the Islamic punk scene
Meghan Dougherty

11. Cultures of the UK web
Josh Cowls

12. Coda: Web archives for humanities research –
some reflections
Jane Winters"

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