Digital Knowledge and Culture research cluster talk: Web Historiography and Digital Humanities

niels brugger

Since the mid-1990s the web has become ever more important and indispensable for the communicative infrastructure of most societies, and in many people’s everyday lives. Thus, in the future the web of the past will be pivotal to our scholarly understanding of society at large after the mid-1990s. Although historical studies of the web as well as studies using the web of the past as a source are slowly emerging, no attempts have yet been made to systematically address the theoretical and methodological issues involved in web historiography, that is the writing of the history of the web and the use of the web as historical source.

In this presentation I shall present a conceptual framework for writing histories with the web as a source, or histories of the web. The presentation is based on the argument that with the web’s digitality—its specific way of being digital—and its inconsistent and messy nature when archived two interrelated shifts can be identified: the shift from historiography to web historiography and the shift from traditional humanities and digital humanities to digital humanities 2.0.

The talk will reflect the first steps of my work with the writing of the monograph Web Historiography and Digital Humanities (under contract with MIT Press) of which the chapter headings are: 1) Introduction: Digitality, mediacy and textuality, 2) The digital, Digital humanities, and the web, 3) The web and historiography, 4) Five analytical web strata, 5) The web as a historical source, 6) The web as an object of study, 7) Cases, 8) Digital research infrastructures. These heading will by and large also structure the talk.

Niels Brügger, Professor in Internet Studies and Digital Humanities, Aarhus University, Denmark, Head of the Centre for Internet Studies, and of NetLab. His research interests are web historiography, web archiving, and Digital Humanities. Recent books include Web History (ed., Peter Lang, 2010) and Histories of Public Service Broadcasters on the Web (co-ed. with M. Burns, Peter Lang 2012), and he is now editng a special issue of New Media & Society about the first 25 years of the Webs history, as well as the following forthcoming books: The Web as History: Using Web Archives to Understand the Past and the Present (co-ed. with R. Schroeder, UCL Press, 2016), Web 25: Histories from the first 25 Years of the World Wide Web (Peter Lang, 2017), and the Sage Handbook of Web History (co-ed. with M. Anderson & I. Milligan, Sage, 2017).

If you plan to attend this talk, please email your name and affiliation to or telephone +44 (0)1865 287210


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