Histoire contemporaine européenne

Web Archives of the COVID Crisis: Digital Voices, Preservation and Loss

This roundtable, which is organized by the WARCnet network and chaired by Valérie Schafer (C2DH, University of Luxembourg), aims to shed light on the issues, challenges, values and limits of web archiving during the COVID crisis. It will combine analysis by web archivists and scholars and entwine analysis of web archiving practices and preserved web content, in order to address several key issues related to the conference, such as the “silences” and “noises” of these archives.
The first part of the roundtable will focus on web archives collections that have been created during the COVID-19 crisis by many institutions throughout Europe. Friedel Geeraert (The State Archives of Belgium and the Royal Library of Belgium) will provide a short comparative overview of the strategies of web archiving institutions in Europe, that the team documented through an oral history campaign, while Nicola Bingham (The British Library, UK) will offer more precise overviews of the collections that were gathered respectively by the UK Web Archive and the IIPC (International Internet Preservation Consortium). Claude Mussou (Ina THEQUE, France) will explore the archiving of Twitter at the Institut national de l’audiovisuel (France).
Niels Brügger (Aarhus University, Denmark) and Jane Winters (SAS, University of London) will then discuss memories and heritage of the COVID-crisis through the lens of these web archives.
Finally the last part will focus on research approaches, notably close and distant reading, and the collective and individual traces, social and political expressions at stake in these web archives: Valérie Schafer will comment on the distant reading approach within these archives. Sophie Gebeil (Aix-Marseille University, France) will underline issues related to “carers” and social struggles. Valérie Schafer will also briefly mention the gendered approach of the COVID crisis that the working group is currently conducting.
This roundtable will be followed by a discussion with the audience in order to deepen the topics that are at the core of the conference, whether it be loss, preservation, the political “we”, feelings, etc.

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