Opening the Black Box of Web Archiving: STS Approaches and the Governance of Born-Digital Heritage

Illustration à partir de Nils Jepsen - Aarhus Universitet  CC BY 2.5

Illustration à partir de Nils Jepsen – Aarhus Universitet
CC BY 2.5

Résumé de l’intervention de Francesca Musiani et Valérie Schafer au colloque Web Archives as scholarly Sources: Issues, Practices and Perspectives, international conference, Aarhus (DK), 8-10 Juin 2015

At the crossroads of two topics of the conference, “Approaches to web archiving” and “Research methods for studying the archived web”, our starting point is that the material, practical, theoretical elements of Web archiving as an ensemble of practices and a terrain of inquiry are inextricably entwined. Several examples illustrate this, from the archiving practices of Internet Archive to those of national preservation institutions: they reveal different modalities of accessibility to archives, consultation interfaces, constitution of corpuses – that, in turn, are not without methodological consequences for researchers. Thus, the exploration of Web archiving processes and infrastructures – often discreet, invisible, ‘black-boxed’ (Latour, 1987) appears increasingly relevant.

Approaches inspired by Science and Technology Studies (STS) can contribute to shed light on the shaping of Web archives; and, in return, some of its notions – e.g. technical democracy, co-production, boundary object (Callon et al., 2001; Star & Griesemer, 1989) – may be approached in novel ways building upon Web archives as a research terrain. In particular, STS approaches are interesting in order to explore the notion of governance as it relates to born-digital heritage.

In 2005, the Working Group on Internet Governance defined Internet governance as “the development and application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet”, adding that “it also includes other significant public policy issues, such as critical Internet resources, the security and safety of the Internet, and developmental aspects and issues pertaining to the use of the Internet”. A definition that fits Web archives very well, if they replace systematically the word “Internet”: indeed, Web archiving practices involve a variety of actors, moved by different motivations; they encompass different and evolving definitions, values, imaginaries of the very notion of Web archiving (e.g. Kaehle, 2014 on the “participatory turn” in archiving the Internet); they suggest different ways in which control and responsibility can be exerted, be it social norms, technical standards or policies.

As such, our contribution aims to show that Web archives and archiving, understood as a socio-technical system, display a number of features and raise questions that are of interest for Internet governance scholars: multi-stakeholderism, the dialectic between national, international, transnational governance(s), and the juxtaposition of market, technology and norms as instruments of power. Web archiving: a microcosm of Internet governance?

References

Callon, M., Lascoumes, P. & Barthe, Y. (2001). Agir dans un monde incertain. Essai sur la démocratie technique, Paris: Seuil.

Kaehle, B. (2014, October 28). “Building Libraries Together

Latour, B. (1987). Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Star, S. L. & Griesemer, J. (1989). Institutional Ecology, ‘Translations’ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39. Social Studies of Science, 19 (3) : 387- 420.

L’Ogre et la Toile

Dans LE DOSSIER : LE TOURNANT NUMÉRIQUE…, ET APRÈS ? de Socio 4 (2015)

Direction: Michel Wieviorka, et Dana Diminescu

27351100138920LValérie Schafer et Benjamin Thierry,  « L’ogre et la toile. Le rendez-vous de l’histoire et des archives du web »

En dialogue avec les principaux fondements de l’épistémologie historique, cet article examine les enjeux, les attentes et les pratiques que suscite l’irruption des archives du web dans le champ de l’histoire du temps présent. Entre nouveauté des matériaux, héritage disciplinaire et continuité des méthodes, il s’agit de comprendre les redéfinitions à venir du rôle de l’historien.

Le dossier est disponible à http://socio.revues.org

Qui archive le passé du Web? Emission Les nouvelles vagues avec Claude Mussou.

Abstract_background_17Le 8 avril 2015  Les Nouvelles Vagues sur France Culture recevait Claude Mussou, responsable du dépôt légal du web, à la direction des collections de l’Ina, depuis juillet 2008.

Pour  (ré)écouter l’émission:

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voir également Et le Web devint archive: enjeux et défis par Claude Mussou sur Ina Expert

Mémoire sociale et culture numérique

L’ouvrage Re-Collection: Art, New Media, and Social Memory, de Richard Rinehart et Jon Ippolito, recensé par par Julie McWey, propose une réflexion sur les mémoires sociales informelles telles qu’elles se manifestent aujourd’hui au prisme des pratiques quotidiennes des réseaux numériques. Leur expression prend moins une forme patrimoniale traditionnelle (le monument préservé) qu’un patrimoine d’appropriation, de récréation et de réinterprétation des objets culturels – par exemple avec les nouvelles formes d’archivage numérique fondées sur l’émulation de vieux logiciels. McWey étend la réflexion en la mettant en perspective avec l’évolution des musées face aux technologies numériques, qui selon Sheila Brennan sont peu à peu amenés à revoir leur idées sur la pratique et la théorie patrimoniale (exploitation des espaces numériques pour re-exposer les collections, les contextualiser, etc.). A lire sur le blog Digital Public History.

digital-public-history-blog

Call for proposal Changing Platforms of Memory Practices. Technologies, User Generations and Amateur Media Dispositifs – March 30th

10-12 September 2015, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

Keynote speakers:·

John Ellis, Professor of Media Arts, Royal Holloway, University of London

Roger Odin, Professeur Émérite – Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3

José van Dijck, Professor of Comparative Media Studies, University of Amsterdam

Call for proposals:

We currently witness a process of rapid transition of mediated memory practices. Digital media platforms like YouTube enable the distribution of private audiovisual memories that differ radically from past amateur practices and media uses. The conference aims to grasp the technical, social and cultural dimensions and changes in the use of technologies of memory, such as home movies, home videos, sound recording and digital technologies. We propose to explore the complex relationship between media technologies, user generations, and mediated memory practices from both a contemporary and long term historical perspective. Papers might focus on the operationalization of concepts of, e.g. dispositif, user generations, media archaeology, socio-technical ensembles or media ecologies.
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