The Internet Archive and Social Historians: Challenge and Potential Amidst the WebARChive Files

Screengrab of my conference presentation opening slide, just saying "The Internet Archive and Social Historians: Challenge and Potential Amidst the WebARChive Files."Next Monday, June 3rd at the University of Victoria as part of the Canadian Historical Association’s Annual Meeting [PDF program here], I’ll be presenting a twenty-minute paper entitled “The Internet Archive and Social Historians: Challenge and Potential Amidst the WebARChive Files.” It’ll be a hopefully entertaining (at the very least provocative) romp through the history of the Internet Archive, the promises and potentials (pausing to highlight issues of scope, technical limitations, and ethical considerations), before taking us through two workflows to open our own web archival files.

As I’ll note there, and have elsewhere, this is my attempt to bring a historical end user’s perspective to bear on this issue. There’s a enormous decently-sized conversation about web archives out there, and I want more historians to be at the table to chat about it.

I won’t be reading my paper, as I don’t like that as an audience member, and figured about a year and a half ago that I’d stop going with the pack. The presentation will be up at some point in mid June when I am back from conference travelling.

However, even if I won’t be reading the paper, you can. If you’re a CHA member, it’ll be up on their website. If not, shoot me an e-mail or Twitter @ or DM and I’ll send you a copy (with the usual provisos that it’s a draft, work-in-progress, don’t cite, will be considerably re-worked, etc. etc.).

“Mining the Internet Graveyard: Exploring Canada’s Digital Collections Projects” – Presentation at the Canadian Historical Association

This is my presentation from the 2012 Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting. As with my previous presentation, there are parts of it presented using Mathematica that I cannot represent here. I’ve provided static images, however, and am happy to provide examples through Skype or elsewhere.

My spoken text deviates slightly from what is below, as I occasionally ad-lib a bit, but you should get a sense of my argument here.


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“Digging into Music”: Presentation at CanPop 2012, May 2012

On 11 May, I presented a paper at the Popular Culture Association of Canada’s second annual conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I thought rather than just limiting the presentation to the physical audience, I would make it available here as well.

I am always looking for collaborators, people to bounce ideas around with, etc. This was my “training exercise” to learn how to program in Mathematica and some of the basics of visualization, web scraping, etc. So if any of this might be useful to your own research, please let me know via e-mail.

The actual talk itself was dynamic. Unfortunately, because the dataset isn’t online yet, we’re in a weird situation of having a digital talk being less interactive online than it was in person.

Thanks are especially due to William J. Turkel, who got me started on this project, helped scrape the lyrics, and provided feedback throughout as I learned how to do much of this.


What follows is the rough text of my talk, coupled with the slides. Please click through to see it all. Read more