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Web 25

Histories from the First 25 Years of the World Wide Web

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Edited By Niels Brügger

Web 25: Histories from the First 25 Years of the World Wide Web celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Web. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Web has played an important role in the development of the Internet as well as in the development of most societies at large, from its early grey and blue webpages introducing the hyperlink for a wider public, to today’s multifacted uses of the Web as an integrated part of our daily lives.

This is the first book to look back at 25 years of Web evolution, and it tells some of the histories about how the Web was born and has developed. It takes the reader on an exciting time travel journey to learn more about the prehistory of the hyperlink, the birth of the Web, the spread of the early Web, and the Web’s introduction to the general public in mainstream media. Furthermore, case studies of blogs, literature, and traditional media going online are presented alongside methodological reflections on how the past Web can be studied, as well as accounts of how one of the most important source types of our time is provided, namely the archived Web.

Web 25: Histories from the First 25 Years of the World Wide Web is a must-read
for anyone interested in how our online present has been shaped by the past.

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Chapter Twelve: Revisiting the World Wide Web as artefact: Case studies in archiving small data for the National Library of Australia’s PANDORA Archive (Paul Koerbin)

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chapter twelve

Revisiting the World Wide Web as artefact

Case studies in archiving small data for the National Library of Australia’s PANDORA Archive

Paul Koerbin

Introduction

In acknowledging, celebrating and reflecting upon the first 25 years of the World Wide Web emphasis will naturally and rightly be given to the innovations and initiatives that have made the web possible and led to the way it has transformed life from the late 20th century onwards.

While naturally in the shadow of these achievements, the outcomes of the programs established to preserve the content of the web should not be overlooked. In studying a quarter century of web history it is notable that for 20 years of that period there have been active web archiving programs collecting and sustaining the preservation of at least representative samples—the artefacts—of the web. Given the web’s earliest public manifestation as predominantly a publishing medium it is not surprising that among the early web archiving initiatives are those established by national libraries with mandates to collect their national publishing culture.

This chapter presents short case studies of examples of early preserved web artefacts from one such national library web archiving initiative, the National Library of Australia’s PANDORA Archive established in 1996. That year perhaps represents the signal year for web archiving since it also saw the establishment of the Internet Archive. As the largest and most ambitious of all web archiving...

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