Web Archives for Historians: The Crowdsourced Bibliography and Database

A screenshot of our web archives for historians page, showing the main splash page.In early March, Peter Webster of the British Library and I launched “Web Archives for Historians,” a crowdsourced bibliography comprised of works written by historians who use or think about how we can use web archives (read his launch post here as well). We also have a second tab that asks people who are interested in web archives to fill out a form, so we can get a sense of who might be out there!

Our criteria are relatively specific, focused particularly on the interplay between historians and web archives:

We want to know about works written by historians covering topics such as: (a) reflections on the need for web preservation, and its current state in different countries and globally as a whole; (b) how historians could, should or should not use web archives; (c) examples of actual uses of web archives as primary sources. Work concerned with online representation of the more distant past is also within our scope.

So far the bibliography is growing, and we just added some content today. Whenever updates are made we’ll also make sure to tweet on our Twitter account, @HistWebArchives. If you’re interested, please visit our site or follow us.

It’s my sincere hope that we can start to build a historian/web-archive specific community. I’ve argued elsewhere that I think historians need to work towards further engagement with web archives, as they’ll become one of the primary sources to understand social, cultural, political, etc. life from the mid-1990s onwards. They present a tremendous resource, but they’re on such a different scale than the normally scarce archival resources that most historians are professionally trained with, so let’s start laying the groundwork now.

I look forward to seeing you over at Web Archives for Historians.

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