I’ll be giving a talk entitled “Big Data and History: How Web Archives Will Challenge, Complement and Enhance the Historical Profession” at the Acadia Institute for Data Analytics on November 28th at 3PM, in BAC 132. I’m going to be making the case that historians need to start thinking about data, drawing on arguments around digital preservation, understanding sources, the rise of web archives, and featuring some examples from my own work with GeoCities and the Wide Web Scrape.
A more eloquent abstract:
“Big Data and History” argues that we need to understand the implications of the arrival of new archives: web collections. These collections of websites aggregated into single files necessitate a rethinking of how historians will approach their professional standards and trainings, with particular implications for historians studying topics involving the 1980s onwards. While historians are normally accustomed to not having enough information about their topic, the problem for many is now shifting towards having far too much data. How can humanities-based researchers begin to grapple with these problems?
If you can make it, the event page is available here. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to go back to beautiful Wolfville, Nova Scotia (my partner did her undergraduate degree there, and my friend and colleague Thomas Peace used to teach there, so I’ve heard so much about the university).