CFP: The Web that was: archives, traces, reflections (Amsterdam, June 2019)

A three-day conference, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, June 19-21, 2019. The third biennial RESAW (Research Infrastructure for the Study of Archived Web Materials) conference. Organized by the University of Amsterdam.

As the first generation of web users goes grey, it’s clear that the internet they remember is no longer around. The early web is now simply another object of nostalgia. Tech anniversaries are a dime a dozen, while once cool digital aesthetics have made several ironic comebacks. All of this reinforces a sense that we’ve left behind a digital history that was as clunky and slow as it was idealistic and naïve.

How can we rethink this relationship to the web’s past and the past web? This question is crucial today as the open web continues to lose ground to platforms and apps. How can this history be reconstructed and re-evaluated, and how are web archives and web histories impacted by technological change? What do traditional problems of preservation and historiography look like at scale? And what stories capture the diverse transformations and continuities that mark nearly 30 years of web history?

There is of course no single web history, materially or conceptually speaking. There is instead a politics of archives, technologies and discourses that needs to be uncovered. How can we expand our view of web history beyond Silicon Valley and celebrated cases? And how can we reveal the technological, social and economic contexts that have shaped not just the present web, but how we access its past? What role do archives play in uncovering the histories of the web, platforms and apps, as well as their production and usage contexts?

This conference aims to bring together scholars, archivists and artists interested in preserving, portraying and otherwise engaging with the web that was. In addition to paper submissions, we invite proposals for audiovisual installations, posters, software demos, or other media that connects to the conference themes.

Submissions in the form of an abstract may relate to, but are not limited by, the following topics:

* Web and internet histories
* Historicizing the web and digital culture
* Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and critiquing periodizations
* Past futures and paths not taken
* Platformization and the changing structure of the web
* Social imaginaries of the early web
* Archives and access
* Research methods for studying the archived web
* Methods for platform and app histories
* Ethics of (studying) web archives
* Technicity of web archives
* Software histories
* Archived audiences and histories of internet use
* Identity, intersectionality and web history
* Digital activism and web history
* Histories of net criticism
* Media industries and their online histories
* Web histories elsewhere: forgotten and marginalized web cultures
* Realtime, time travel and other web temporalities
* Future histories and the archive of tomorrow

Deadline for submission is 19 October 2018.

See the website of the conference

CfP: “Media history for the future: Web Archaeology”

Call for Submissions special issue TMG—Journal for Media History

Media historians increasingly have to deal with the fact that the object of their study or their historical sources only exist in digital form. Since the explosive growth of the internet in the 1980s and the web in the nineties, reconstructing internet history or histories depending on internet-based media are completely dependent on what is archived or still accessible. Most born digital source materials have never been stored in a sustainable way and at most are preserved by chance in forgotten corners of the web or on obsolete digital storage formats. The web historians of the future must therefore learn to “dig” in online sources to what is left of an antique website, an online video forum or a virtual media community. The found artifacts must then be reconstructed. In this way insight into the operation, use and meaning of the object can be acquired and the past can be reconstructed and interpreted. The need for exploring new tools and new digital methods, including source criticism, is gaining in importance, also for media historians. In addition, the worldwide web itself is increasingly becoming a dynamic archive in which sources appear and quickly disappear: what opportunities are there for research and what should we be prepared for in the near future?

In order to gain a better insight into the recent developments of web archaeology and web history, TMG asks for this theme issue contributions on the following topics and approaches:

• Theoretical and concrete explorations of web archeology as a method
• How can we use the web / digital-born data as a source for media-historical research?
• What historical transformations have taken place on the internet and the web and how can we period it?
• What are the limitations and possibilities in using the web as a dynamic archive?

Preferably, authors focus on topics related to the Dutch / Flemish media and communication history, but TMG is also open to international contributions.

This special TMG issue will be edited by dr. Susan Aasman (TMG), in collaboration with guest editors dr. Kees Teszelszky (Conservator digital collections KB) and Tjarda de Haan (Head of the Atria knowledge institute). Proposals (about 300 words) for peer-reviewed articles (6000-8000 words) can be submitted to Susan Aasman ( no later than 30 September 2018. It is also possible to submit a proposal for a (non-peer reviewed) review of tools and methods for web historical research or preservation of digital media heritage. The manuscript of the article is expected before Monday 3 December 2018.

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