[Air-L] Using archives of the web for research

Eric Meyer eric.meyer at oii.ox.ac.uk
Wed Apr 20 08:46:28 PDT 2011

Dear AoIR,

OII is currently doing some work for the IIPC (International Internet Preservation Consortium: http://www.netpreserve.org), and part of the work involves identifying current and cutting edge research techniques and tools that are available for research on the live web, but that are currently either difficult or impossible to use with web archives such as the Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/) or other IIPC member organisations.

The short version of what we are hoping to get from this group:
- do you know of any innovative uses of web archives for research?
- what techniques for researching the live web should be adapted for use with web archives?
- can you envisage any innovative uses of web archives (or other archived Internet data) for research that you would ideally like to be able to do?

The longer version:
What we are hoping is that members of AoIR will respond to us (off list) with your ideas about ways you research the live web that could potentially be enhanced using either snapshots from the web at different time points or longitudinal data about the web over time, but which would need additional support, training, tools, or infrastructure to be able to accomplish.  Your responses will be used to influence the IIPC community to add web archive support for the kinds of cutting edge research that AoIR members are doing.

Also, if you have any types of research or research questions you have been hoping to be able to do with archived internet data but have not been able to do for whatever reason, and you are willing to share the ideas and the barriers to researching them with us for possible inclusion in our discussion paper, that would be appreciated as well.

Responses before 1 May will be most helpful. We will post the draft report back to the list in May, and the final report in the summer.  Those interested in web archives may also find two reports we wrote last autumn to be of interest:
Dougherty, M., Meyer, E.T., Madsen, C., van den Heuvel, C., Thomas, A., Wyatt, S. (2010). Researcher Engagement with Web Archives: State of the Art. London: JISC. Online: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1714997 or http://ie-repository.jisc.ac.uk/544/
Thomas, A., Meyer, E.T., Dougherty, M., van den Heuvel, C., Madsen, C., Wyatt, S. (2010). Researcher Engagement with Web Archives: Challenges and Opportunities for Investment. London: JISC. Online: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1715000 or http://ie-repository.jisc.ac.uk/543/

Eric T. Meyer
Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute
University of Oxford
eric.meyer at oii.ox.ac.uk

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