These are the slides from my presentation on Web Archives and Digital Methods: Reconstructing the Dutch Blogosphere with the Internet Archive. During the NWO CATCHmeeting “Supporting Media Studies Research: Exploration and Contextualization” at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum I presented some web archive use scenarios with a specific focus on doing digital methods research with the Internet Archive.
Historically, the practice of web archiving has involved various institutions and the development of various practices, approaches and tools. Among them, three main approaches to web archiving have been developed: web archive research using the Internet Archive and Wayback Machine, the practice of archiving special collections of websites, and the national approach of archiving webs of specific countries. These approaches and practices do not only reflect the time in which they were conceived in the history of web archiving, but also put forward distinct ways in which they may be used and consequently what type of historiographical research can be done with them. However, there are also limits to what these tools and practices offer. The purpose of this talk is to introduce the limits of doing research with the Internet Archive with existing tools such as the Wayback Machine and in addition, to show how digital methods are used to repurpose the Wayback Machine in order to go beyond the single-site historical research that is enabled by the Internet Archive. This will be illustrated in a case study on the Dutch blogosphere where by means of custom tools built on top of the Wayback Machine yearly snapshots of the historical Dutch blogosphere were created between 1999-2009. By reconstructing the interlinked set of blogs, the blogosphere, one can trace and map transitions in linking technologies and practices in the Dutch blogosphere over time. This approach allows for studying the emergence and decline of blog platforms and social media platforms within the blogosphere and for investigating local blog cultures.