Historical Social Research

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Niels Brügger: When the Present Web is Later the Past: Web Historiography, Digital History, and Internet Studies [Abstract]

Taking as point of departure that since the mid-1990s the web has been an essential medium within society as well as in academia this article addresses some fundamental questions related to web historiography, that is the writing of the history of the web. After a brief identification of some limitations within digital history and internet studies vis-a-vis web historiography it is argued that the web is in itself an important historical source, and that special attention must be drawn to the web in web archives – termed reborn-digital material – since these sources will probably be the only web left for future historians. In line with this argument the remainder of the article discusses the following methodological issues: What characterizes the reborn-digital material in web archives, and how does this affect the historian’s use of the material as well as the possible application of digital analytical tools on this kind of material?