Humans are ready to use some web archives”: Working with the Wayback Machine and Wikipedia’s history pages in the not-so-digital humanities

Humans are ready to use some web archives”: Working with the Wayback Machine and Wikipedia’s history pages in the not-so-digital humanities
14 June 2022, 9.30am - 10.30am
Online & Woburn Suite, G22/26, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Speaker: Sandra Folie (University of Vienna)

The Atle of my keynote refers to Kees Teszelszky’s (2021, 1) claim that “humans are not ready to use web archives and fully understand and make use of the possibiliAes the data in these web collecAons offer.” Although I agree in principle, I want to emphasize that not all web archives are the same. Whereas digital humaniAes researchers are usually more interested in web archives beyond the widely known Wayback Machine, oZen enough the world’s most extensive web archive (“more than 670 billion web pages saved over Ame”) actually is new territory for students and scholars in the not-so-digital humaniAes. The same applies to Wikipedia’s history pages, which document the genesis and development of all arAcle and discussion pages in Wikipedia. Both archives are publicly accessible, not Aed to a specific locaAon, and relaAvely easy to use – even for those who do not fully understand them or have the skills to systemaAcally analyse their large amounts of data. To narrow down the overwhelming abundance of possibiliAes, it is first important to normalise the use of publicly accessible web archives at universiAes.

In my talk, I will use the chick lit genre as a case study to show the value of including web archives in research on contemporary literary phenomena. Chick lit emerged in the second half of the 1990s with bestsellers such as Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City (both 1996), at the same Ame as the online sphere devoted to literature developed. This means that some of the very first adverAsements and definiAons of chick lit were published online. The Internet, or rather the people on the Internet, suddenly became important players in the business of selling and reviewing books. Moreover, since chick lit is a relaAvely long-lived contemporary phenomenon, we can look back on several decades of online presence and development, some parts of which have been archived.

Sandra Folie is an assistant professor (Universitätsassistentin) at the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Vienna. Previously, she was a doctoral fellow of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In her first book, Beyond Ethnic Chick Lit (transcript, forthcoming), Folie examines the marginalisation and homogenisation of contemporary popular literature by women through gendered as well as ethnicised labelling practices and corresponding marketing strategies. Her writing has also appeared in Aussiger Beiträge,International Journal of Digital Humanities, Open Gender Journal, and Textpraxis, as well as in several edited volumes and reference works. Folie is the co-editor of Vom Sammeln und Ordnen (Weidler, 2022) and New Perspectives on Imagology (Brill, forthcoming). She is currently working on her postdoc book project on literary blackfacing and critical whiteness in 20th century German literature.

This session is part of the WARCnet meeting 2022.

All welcome- This event is free to attend, but booking is required. 


SAS Events Office
Email only