Guided Tour of the Canadian Political Party Web Archive

What on earth is this? Spaghetti and meatballs? Turns out it's full of useful information when we pry it apart.

What on earth is this? Spaghetti and meatballs? Turns out it’s full of useful information when we pry it apart.

Those who follow me on Twitter know that I’ve been playing with the WAT file format, and in particular have been undertaking a crash course in Gephi. It’s been really rewarding! It’s already led me to dig into the Wayback Machine and find out that the No Shari’a law campaign transitioned to an anti-Iranian embassy campaign around the same time that it became less relevant within the link structure of the Canadian political sphere.

But in short, this stuff matters because it takes us from a list of files that are opaque and hard to deal with – WARC and WAT files – and into something that we can now work with, and begin to ask research questions about.

If you’ve got a fantastic computer, you can try playing with the PDF export of this. I could make this prettier but I think there’s a limited audience for this.

My sincerest thanks to Micki Kaufman – her help (and willingness to walk me through some of the data wrangling on a screenshare) made this possible.

Some preliminary thoughts on the WAT file below and what we can learn from this sort of analysis. I’m not a YouTube personality, and Gephi can be occasionally persnickety – especially when one foolishly tries to work remotely in the morning on their laptop – but I think it showcases some of the possibilities. More soon.

5 thoughts on “Guided Tour of the Canadian Political Party Web Archive

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