Engaging with Web Archives (#EWAVirtual) 2020

The Book of Abstracts: #EWAVirtual 2020 has been uploaded to Xenodo, DOI: http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4058013

Engaging with Web Archives: ‘Opportunities, Challenges and Potentialities’, (#EWAVirtual), 21-22 September 2020, Maynooth University Arts and Humanities Institute, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

Maynooth University Arts and Humanities Institute are delighted to be hosting the first EWA conference which aims to:

  • raise awareness for the use of web archives and the archived web for research and education across a broad range of disciplines and professions in the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Political Science, Media Studies, Information Science, Computer Science and more;
  • foster collaborations between web archiving initiatives, researchers, educators and IT professionals;
  • highlight how the development of the internet and the web is intricately linked to the history of the 1990s. 

This is a two-day virtual conference, in place of the original physical conference. Please check out the virtual conference Programme.

What is Web Archiving?

Pioneered by the efforts of the Internet Archive in 1996, national libraries and cultural heritage organisations quickly realised the need to preserve information and content that was born on the web, and the development of web crawler programmes gave rise to the technology for web archiving. According to the International Internet Preservation Consortium, ‘Web archiving is the process of collecting portions of the World Wide Web, preserving the collections in an archival format, and then serving the archives for access and use.’ Due to serious concerns about the loss of web-born heritage, there has been a continuous growth of web archiving initiatives across the globe.

Why should we care?

For example, in Ireland — The first connection to the Internet as we know it (via TCP/IP), went live in Trinity College Dublin in June 1991. The first web server and website in Ireland can be traced back to 1991/92 in University College Cork (CURIA project); and other websites followed in 1993 from IONA Technologies, TCD Maths, IEunet, and University of Limerick. The growth of Irish websites was slow at first, but this changed by the end of 1995 due to international developments in browser technology, and the growth of internet service providers in Ireland (see TechArchives, How the internet came to Ireland; David Malone, Early Irish Web Stuff).


As researchers begin to negotiate and write the history of their countries for the 1990s, whether it is social, cultural, political or even economic, it seems inevitable that they will also need to consider their histories of IT – in terms of how the introduction of the internet and the WWW began to infiltrate the fabric of life, work and play.

The archived web is now an object of study in many countries, and there has been a lot of work done already to build research infrastructures and networks. But more needs to be done to promote awareness of the availability of web archives, and how they can be utilised as resources for research going into the future. And certainly, much more needs to be done in the realms of how web archives can be incorporated as resources in education, and how the use of web archives can be taught.

International literature using web archives for research and historical inquiry is growing; yet the question of how to effectively use the archived web for qualitative and quantitative research still remains open; and how to integrate the use of web archives into teaching is a path yet to be explored. Furthermore, existing web archiving efforts find it hard to exchange knowledge and take on larger projects, partially due to the lack of opportunities for exchange between the disciplines and educators.

If you require more information or have any questions please feel free to email us: ewaconference@gmail.com

Follow us on Twitter:

  • #EWA20 Conference @EWAConf
  • Maynooth University Arts and Humanities Institute @MU_AHI
  • #EWAVirtual

This conference is kindly supported by the Maynooth University Conference and Workshop Fund.

The EWA organisers would also like to extend their sincerest thanks and appreciation to the following organisations and institutions for their kind support and efforts to make this conference event possible:

The views, information, or opinions expressed on the #EWA20 #EWAVirtual website are solely those of the Co-Chairs involved and do not necessarily represent those of Maynooth University, or other institutions who support the organisation of this conference event. 

All GIFs on this site come from the Internet Archive, GifCities: https://gifcities.org/

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