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The SAGE Handbook of Web History

The SAGE Handbook of Web History

First Edition
Edited by:

December 2018 | 672 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

The Web has been with us now for almost 25 years. An integral part of our social, cultural and political lives, ‘new media’ is simply not that new anymore. Despite the rapidly expanding archives of information at our disposal, and the recent growth of interest in web history as a field of research, the information available to us still far outstrips our understanding of how to interpret it. 

The SAGE Handbook of Web History marks the first comprehensive review of this subject to date. Its editors emphasise two main different forms of study: the use of the web as an historical resource, and the web as an object of study in its own right. Bringing together all the existing knowledge of the field, with an interdisciplinary focus and an international scope, this is an incomparable resource for researchers and students alike. 

Part One: The Web and Historiography

Part Two: Theoretical and Methodological Reflections

Part Three: Technical and Structural Dimensions of Web History

Part Four: Platforms on the Web

Part Five: Web History and Users, some Case Studies

Part Six: The Roads Ahead

Steve Jones
Foreword: The Web as Counterpart
Niels Brügger & Ian Milligan
Part 01: The Web and Historiography
Ian Milligan
Chapter 1: Historiography and the Web
Niels Brügger
Chapter 2: Understanding the Archived Web as a Historical Source
Peter Webster
Chapter 3: Existing Web Archives
Richard Rogers
Chapter 4: Periodizing web archiving: Biographical, event-based, national and autobiographical traditions
Part 02: Theoretical and Methodological Reflections
Valérie Schafer & Benjamin G. Thierry
Chapter 5: Web History in Context
Francesca Musiani & Valérie Schafer
Chapter 6: Science and Technology Studies Approaches to Web History
Ralph Schroeder
Chapter 7: Theorizing the Uses of the Web
Stine Lomborg
Chapter 8: Ethical considerations for web archives and web history research
Federico Nanni
Chapter 9: Collecting Primary Sources from Web Archives: A Tale of Scarcity and Abundance
Michael Stevenson & Anat Ben-David
Chapter 10: Network Analysis for Web History
Anthony Cocciolo
Chapter 11: Quantitative Web History methods
Anat Ben-David & Adam Amram
Chapter 12: Computational Methods for Web History
Justin Joque
Chapter 13: Visualizing Historical Web Data
Part 03: Technical and Structural Dimensions of Web History
Michael L. Nelson & Herbert Van de Sompel
Chapter 14: Adding the Dimension of Time to HTTP
Belinda Barnet
Chapter 15: Hypertext Before the Web - or, What the Web Could Have Been
Anne Helmond
Chapter 16: A historiography of the hyperlink: Periodizing the web through the changing role of the hyperlink
Alexander Halavais
Chapter 17: How Search Shaped and Was Shaped by the Web
Lindsay Poirier
Chapter 18: Making the Web Meaningful: A History of Web Semantics
Marc Weber
Chapter 19: Browsers and Browser Wars
Gerard Goggin
Chapter 20: Emergence of the Mobile Web
Part 04: Platforms on the Web
Andy Famiglietti
Chapter 21: Wikipedia
Matthew Crain
Chapter 22: A Critical Political Economy of Web Advertising History
Ian Milligan
Chapter 23: Exploring Web Archives in the Age of Abundance: A Social History Case Study of GeoCities
Ignacio Siles
Chapter 24: Blogs
Christina Ortner, Philip Sinner & Tanja Jadin
Chapter 25: The History of Online Social Media
Part 05: Web History and Users, some Case Studies
Madhavi Mallapragada
Chapter 26: Cultural Historiography of the 'Homepage'
Allie Kosterich & Matthew Weber
Chapter 27: Consumers, News and a History of Change
Niels Brügger & Ditte Laursen
Chapter 28: Historical studies of national web domains
James O'Sullivan & Dene Grigar
Chapter 29: The Origins of Electronic Literature as Net/Web Art
Valérie Beaudouin, Zeynep Pehlivan & Peter Stirling
Chapter 30: Exploring the memory of the First World War using web archives: web graphs seen from different angles
Gareth Millward
Chapter 31: A History with Web Archives, Not a History of Web Archives: A History of the British Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine Crisis, 1998-2004
Peter Webster
Chapter 32: Religion and Web history
Jeremy Wade Morris
Chapter 33: Hearing the Past: The Sonic Web from MIDI to Music Streaming
Jim McGrath
Chapter 34: Memes
Gabriele de Seta
Chapter 35: Years of the Internet: Vernacular creativity before, on and after the Chinese Web
Mark McLelland
Chapter 36: Cultural, political and technical factors influencing early Web uptake in North America and East Asia
Susanna Paasonen
Chapter 37: Online pornography
Finn Brunton
Chapter 38: Spam
Michael Nycyk
Chapter 39: Trolls and Trolling History: From Subculture to Mainstream Practices
Part 06: The Roads Ahead
Jane Winters
Chapter 40: Web archives and (digital) history: a troubled past and a promising future?

Historians of the twenty-first century need to understand both the history of the Web, and the kinds of histories that can be written with online sources. There is no better guide to this crucial dimension of contemporary life than the SAGE Handbook of Web History. With chapters on web archiving, ethical considerations, technology, platforms, visualization, computation, quantitative and network analyses and many other subjects, it promises to become a key resource, not only for so-called digital historians, but for any historian who uses a computer in his or her work.

William J. Turkel
Professor of History at The University of Western Ontario

With so much of human expression from the last three decades documented on what we broadly call the Web, a better understanding of the nature of this complicated electronic medium is long past due. It is essential that we fully grasp the technology of the Web, how Web archives are assembled and can be traversed, and how the Web itself has a fascinating, complex history. This volume will be greatly welcomed by historians, social scientists, and any other researcher delving into the rich and multifaceted realm of the Web, which is indeed as worldly and wide as its longer name suggests.

Dan Cohen
Vice Provost for Information Collaboration and Dean, University Libraries at Northeastern University

This handbook provides a broad range of interdisciplinary perspectives on the Web at the very moment in its history when serious questions are being raised over whether the Web can become the world wide trusted source of information once envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee and his colleagues. This collection is a must addition for any library or researcher focused on the social life and impact of the Internet, Web and related information and communication technologies.

William H. Dutton
University of Southern California and University of Oxford

In 2003, Roy Rosenzweig, pointing out that historians largely ignored born-digital sources, called for them to get involved in preserving digital culture and exploring how to analyze its abundance. In 2018, the vast majority of historians have still yet to meaningfully engage with web archives. This Handbook provides the jumpstart for which the field of web history has been waiting. The volume amplifies and elaborates the importance of the Web as a source and as an object of study. More importantly, the contributors provide a multifaceted overview of web history that guides readers through the nature of web archives, how to approach analyzing them, what methods are available, how to understand the technical underpinnings of web history, and how to explore web platforms. With this Handbook to get them started, historians will be ready for the research in web history that must form a part of any effort to understand the world of the 1990s and beyond.

Prof. Stephen Robertson
Director, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Department of History and Art History, George Mason University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 15: Hypertext before the Web

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ISBN: 9781473980051

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