AOIR Pre-conference – 404 History Not Found: Challenges in Internet History and Memory Studies

aoir2016AoIR routinely hosts several preconference workshops before the main conference. Attendees must register to attend a preconference; the price of the preconference is included as part of the main conference. All workshops will be held on October 5th.


voir la liste des pré-conférences 

Parmi elle celle organisée par Camille Paloque-Bergès (HT2S Cnam, membre de Web90 ) et Kevin Driscoll (University of Virginia):

404 History Not Found: Challenges in Internet History and Memory Studies

How did the Internet become relevant in today’s culture and politics? How were its codes and rules—whether technical, social or cultural—constructed, challenged, and normalized? How did net culture become a mass phenomenon of global importance? To understand why and how the “Internet rules” today, it is essential that we look back at the internet’s past. In this pre-conference, we will discuss the specific theoretical and methodological challenges that arise in the study of the internet through time and memory, for purposes of both historiography (what net histories and how?) and epistemology (net histories as an object of media research). Attendees will be invited to participate in three hands-on, interactive sessions organized around issues, sources and methods fundamental to researching net diachronicity.

Net history survives in unexpected places, unfolding through time and space, collapsing in on the present. The artifacts that surface may be incomplete or inscrutable absent their original contexts, requiring us to borrow creatively from other fields and develop new historical methods (Ankerson, 2011; Brügger & Finnemann, 2012; Paloque-Berges, 2016). From formal archives and oral histories to lingering web sites, software, and hardware artifacts, the material evidence of the past suggests a diversity of social, temporal, and technical regimes. Indeed, recent scholarship on early networks reveals a greater range of experiences, technologies, norms and motivations than is found in best-known histories of the internet (Brammer, 2015; Brunton, 2013; Driscoll, 2014; Hargadon, 2011; Mailland, 2015; Paloque-Berges, 2011; Rankin 2014, 2015; Russell, 2014; Russell & Schafer, 2014; Schafer & Thierry, 2012; Schulte, 2013; Streeter, 2011). In their wake, we question how to make sense of conflicts and contradictions while respecting the subjective lived experiences of individual participants. What is our responsibility to find and document hidden histories, obscure sources, and less visible networks? How will a richer understanding of the internet’s past change how we engage with its present and imagine its future?

This pre-conference will include three workshop sessions organized around core research challenges in net history: (1) epistemology, (2) sources and methodology, and (3) mediation and transmission. Selected participants, rather than present whole case studies, will intervene on specific challenges—for instance: theoretical paradoxes or deadlocks, methodological problem-solving, and demonstrations of born-digital artifacts. The audience will be involved by taking positions, suggesting ad-hoc solutions, and identifying common themes.

(…) This pre-conference will be a full-day workshop facilitated by Kevin Driscoll and Camille Paloque-Berges with support from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche project Web90. The discussions and hands-on activities will be accessible to all AOIR attendees but will be especially engaging for researchers encountering issues of temporality, memory, nostalgia, or a need to “go back in time” in their own work.

En savoir plus 


L’incertaine révolution numérique

Vitalis_front_largeAndré Vitalis,  L’incertaine révolution numérique, ISTE Editions, Série Informatique et société connectées, coordonnée par Dominique Carré et Geneviève Vidal, 2016, 118 p.

Les grands bouleversements engendrés par l’utilisation des techniques numériques et du réseau Internet sont jugés positivement, mais aussi parfois comme de nouvelles formes de contrôle et d’exploitation. On peut par ailleurs contester le caractère véritablement révolutionnaire de ces bouleversements présentés sous les traits d’une révolution numérique inéluctable qui échappe à toute volonté politique de transformation sociale.

Au-delà de ces différences d’appréciation, cet ouvrage fait un retour sur cinquante ans d’informatisation afin de revisiter les quatre grandes problématiques sociétales qui sont apparues au fur et à mesure de la progression des applications : la problématique du contrôle social, celle de la sécurité, celle de la communication et de l’échange, et enfin celle de la marchandisation. Il s’agit de retrouver les termes dans lesquels elles ont été formulées et, au besoin, de mobiliser des grilles théoriques pour mieux en saisir le sens et la portée. Toutes ces problématiques cohabitent, s’entremêlent et se télescopent dans la mutation numérique en cours, entre contrôle et liberté.
L’auteur: Membre-fondateur du CREIS et du CECIL, André Vitalis est professeur émérite à l’Université Bordeaux Montaigne. Il est l’auteur de plusieurs ouvrages sur la complexité des rapports informatique et libertés.

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Plugging a 1986 Mac Plus into the Modern Web

Article de Jeff Keacher pour the Kernel

Article de Jeff Keacher pour The Kernel

« Reviving an old computer is like restoring a classic car: There’s a thrill from bringing the ancient into the modern world. So it was with my first “real” computer, my Macintosh Plus, when I decided to bring it forward three decades and introduce it to the modern Web ». Jeff Keacher nous raconte son expérience, à découvrir sur The Kernel

The Web of the pros

Capture d’écran 2016-04-28 à 15.21.02 Capture d’écran 2016-04-28 à 15.21.12This article, focusing on France, explores the notion of a “Web of professionals” and seeks to establish its factual, epistemological, and methodological implications for the history of the World Wide Web in the 1990s. This research reflects on the promises of the New Economy and the roles of the various controversies, cultures, imaginaries, and forms of mediation affecting the business world in its appropriation of the Web. It also aims to reappraise the individual and collective stakeholders whose active part has been somehow underestimated or obscured by the image of the mass Internet user. The professionalization of Web activities, the development of a new generation of entrepreneurs and the conversion of business models to online practices are all significant parts of the emergent Web culture in France, as well as factors contributing to this emergence.

Schafer, V., Thierry, B., « The “Web of pros” in the 1990s: The professional acclimation of the World Wide Web in France »New Media & Society, April 27, 2016. doi:10.1177/1461444816643792

Shane Greenstein: « How the Internet Became Commercial » | Talks at Google

How the Internet Became Commercial:
Innovation, Privatization, and the Birth of a New Network
Shane Greenstein

Princeton University Press, 2015.

j10574Description du livre

In less than a decade, the Internet went from being a series of loosely connected networks used by universities and the military to the powerful commercial engine it is today. This book describes how many of the key innovations that made this possible came from entrepreneurs and iconoclasts who were outside the mainstream—and how the commercialization of the Internet was by no means a foregone conclusion at its outset.

Shane Greenstein traces the evolution of the Internet from government ownership to privatization to the commercial Internet we know today. This is a story of innovation from the edges. Greenstein shows how mainstream service providers that had traditionally been leaders in the old-market economy became threatened by innovations from industry outsiders who saw economic opportunities where others didn’t—and how these mainstream firms had no choice but to innovate themselves. New models were tried: some succeeded, some failed. Commercial markets turned innovations into valuable products and services as the Internet evolved in those markets. New business processes had to be created from scratch as a network originally intended for research and military defense had to deal with network interconnectivity, the needs of commercial users, and a host of challenges with implementing innovative new services.

How the Internet Became Commercial demonstrates how, without any central authority, a unique and vibrant interplay between government and private industry transformed the Internet.

Shane Greenstein is the MBA Class of 1957 Professor of Business Administration and cochair of the Digital Initiative at Harvard Business School, and codirector of the program on the economics of digitization at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His books include Diamonds Are Forever, Computers Are Not and Standards and Public Policy.

The Undersea Network

In our « wireless » world it is easy to take the importance of the undersea cable systems for granted, but the stakes of their successful operation are huge, as they are responsible for carrying almost all transoceanic Internet traffic. In The Undersea Network Nicole Starosielski follows these cables from the ocean depths to their landing zones on the sandy beaches of the South Pacific, bringing them to the surface of media scholarship and making visible the materiality of the wired network. In doing so, she charts the cable network’s cultural, historical, geographic and environmental dimensions. Starosielski argues that the environments the cables occupy are historical and political realms, where the network and the connections it enables are made possible by the deliberate negotiation and manipulation of technology, culture, politics and geography. Accompanying the book is an interactive digital mapping project, where readers can trace cable routes, view photographs and archival materials, and read stories about the island cable hubs.

About The Author

Nicole Starosielski is Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.

Jake Feinler (SRI)

Voir notamment le témoignage de Jake Feinler – recueilli par Marc Weber (p. 52), qui oeuvra au SRI avec Engelbart au développement d’Arpanet et d’Internet (notamment du Whois).

Sur Jake Feinler voir également

ELIZABETH JOCELYN FEINLER: An Interview Conducted by Janet Abbate for the IEEE History Center, 8 July 2002. Interview # 597 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

In this interview, Feinler describes her work with FORTRAN, her initial interest in Chemistry, and her work at SRI. At SRI, she was involved in several projects including developing an Resource Handbook. She describes in great detail her time and her involvement in these projects at SRI and the transition of the Internet from military use to commercial use. She highlights the ongoing learning process involved in working with computers and programming. Feinler also described her time at NASA at the Ames Research Center after leaving her long career at SRI.

Nous signalons également le billet sur le blog du national Air and Space Museum dédié à Margaret Hamilton.

Archivage RSN

La première rencontre du Lab InaDLWeb  se déroulera le 1er Avril de 15h à 17h30 dans les emprises de l’Ina, sur le site de la BnF François-Mitterrand.

La séance portera sur les problématiques et enjeux liés à la collecte, à l’archivage et au traitement des  Tweets produits et diffusés en réaction aux attentats de 2015 à Paris ainsi que sur l’usage de la collection pour et par la recherche . 

Déroulé de séance :

15h00-15h45:  Présentation des modalités de collecte , indexation, archivage par l’Ina d’un corpus de plus de  20 M de  tweets en lien avec les événements

-15h45-16h30 :  Présentation des outils  existants de traitement et visualisation du corpus 

– 16h30 -17 h30 : « Hands on » /Travaux pratiques  : Accès à l’interface de consultation des Tweets archivés depuis ordinateurs portables individuels  pour prise en main et analyse

-17h30-18h00 : discussions, échanges, expression des besoins

Because of the pixels …

My own rage comic, about a dog, Wout 159 CC BY SA 3.0

My own rage comic, about a dog, Wout 159
CC BY SA 3.0

Découvrir ou redécouvrir l’article

Davison P., Because of the Pixels: On the History, Form and Influence of MS Paint, Journal of Visual Culture, Journal of Visual Culture, December 2014, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 275-297. 


This article focuses on the history, formal properties, and cultural role played by MS Paint, a widely available graphics program that has been used to make countless internet memes. The author examines the technical limitations of the program, and the visible consequences produced by a mouse-driven bitmap-based graphics program. He uses MS Paint as a context to discuss two new pieces of graphics software – Fresh Paint and Rage Maker – each of which embody radically different orientations to the concept of remediation. These three approaches to understanding MS Paint help us to reconsider the culturally suppressed media that have nonetheless had significant effects on the visual culture of the contemporary participatory internet.