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Web as an Object of Historical Studies in Web History

Student: Anna Shchetvina

Supervisor: Polina Kolozaridi

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: Cultural Studies (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2020

It is impossible to imagine the history of culture of the late XX and the first quarter of the XXI century without the Internet. Utopias about ​​global connectivity, creative online practices, online communities, and net-art — all of this are either in the past or have undergone major changes. The Internet consists of many different elements, and one of its important components is the web. The web is fragile: websites that were created in the 1990th are no longer available for viewing. Online practices arise and disappear, the well-known net-art works can no longer be opened in the modern web browsers. A lot of archival organizations are involved in preserving the web, but archival activities face a number of problems that are altogether associated with the question “what should be saved”. In this paper, an attempt is made to answer this question by analyzing historical articles about web history through a combination of approaches of narrative philosophy of history and STS. The paper analyzes how in Web History the web is ontologized as an object through metaphors, of which elements the history of the web is composed, what historical significance it is endowed with and what characteristics of the web past are more significant, according to web historians.

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