An introduction to web archives for Humanities and Social Science research

This one-day workshop will be held as part of the 22nd International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries, on 13 September 2018, Porto, Portugal.

Workshop organisers

Daniel Gomes (Head of, Advanced Services Department, FCT- Foundation for Science and Technology) and Jane Winters (Professor of Digital Humanities, School of Advanced Study, University of London).

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee includes: Daniel Ribeiro Alves (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), Anat Ben-David (The Open University of Israel), Niels Brügger (Aarhus University), Miguel Costa (Vodafone), Anne Helmond (University of Amsterdam), Helen Hockx-Yu (University of Notre Dame), Barbara McGillivray (Turing Institute), Michael Nelson (Old Dominion University), Zeynep Pehlivan (Institut national de l’audiovisuel), Thomas Risse (Goethe University Frankfurt), Valérie Schafer (University of Luxembourg) and Peter Webster (Webster Research and Consulting).


Work to archive the web began in 1996, with the ground-breaking initiative of the Internet Archive. Other organisations and institutions have followed, from national and state libraries and archives to museums and NGOs. Even individual researchers and research teams are beginning to create archives for personal use, as new tools make web archiving possible from a desktop PC. We now have access to two decades of web archives, collected in different ways and at different times, constituting an invaluable resource for the study of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Researchers are only just beginning to explore the potential of these vast archives, and to develop the theoretical and methodological frameworks within which to study them, but recognition of that potential is becoming ever more widespread. This workshop seeks to explore the value of web archives for scholarly use, to highlight innovative research, to investigate the challenges and benefits of working with the archived web, to identify opportunities for incorporating web archives in learning and teaching, and to discuss and inform archival provision in all senses.


The workshop will begin with an introduction to web archives and web archiving. This first session will present the state of the field and discuss the opportunities and challenges of using this new kind of primary source for research. It will also include demonstrations of a number of existing web archives, which offer varying degrees of open access, from and the UK Government Web Archive (which are completely open) to the various web archive collections at the British Library (which are subject to a range of legal restrictions).

The next session of the workshop will include presentations of ground-breaking Digital Humanities research drawing on web archives. These case studies will illustrate a range of different approaches, from small-scale analyses of individual websites to large-scale investigations of entire domains. Other studies will showcase innovative combinations of quantitative and qualitative research methods.


9:30 – Registration

10:00 – Welcome session

10:15 – Keynote 1 – Thomas Risse (Goethe University Frankfurt), Web archive research and the role of (digital) academic libraries (Abstract)

11:00 – Coffee 

11:15 – Keynote 2 – Jane Winters (School of Advanced Study, University of London), The archived web for research in the humanities and social sciences

12:00 – Lunch and networking

14:00 – Herbert van de Sompel and Martin Klein (Los Alamos National Laboratory), The Memento Infrastructure to Support Research Using Web Archive Collections (Abstract)

14:30 – Miguel Won (Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores – Investigação e Desenvolvimento (INESC-ID)), The ‘Arquivo de Opinião’ newspaper archive (Abstract)

15:00 – ‘Open mic’ for all participants

15:30 – Coffee

16:00 – Moises Rockembach (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul), The web archiving of Brazilian elections campaigns (Abstract)

16:30 – Arian Pasquali (University of Porto), Using the Portuguese Web Archive to present Conta-me Histórias (Abstract)

17:00 – Closing discussion session

19:00 – Meet-up for optional dinner


You can register to attend the workshop at (€120, €90 for students).

Additional free tutorial

The day before the TPDL conference, Monday 10 September, Daniel Gomes, Daniel Bicho and Fernando Melo are also running a free tutorial on ‘Research the Past Web using Web archives’ (see, for more information).


If you have any questions about the event, contact either Jane Winters (jane.winters[@] or Daniel Gomes (daniel.gomes[@]