This post represents Part I in a series of posts from my time at the 2017 Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Conference (Part II detailing other highlights to come!). Below is a general outline of the main ideas of my paper – though the difference between the text and slides reflects the fact that my thinking has evolved somewhat since first presenting this at 4S. The usual nerves ensued as I tried to test out some new-ish/half-baked ideas that draw on both existing studies of STS maintenance theory and repair, but also calls from within the archival sector to recognise the work that goes into maintaining archives.
Note: I’m posting this rather late in an effort to publish all the half-written blog posts I have collected over the last year or so…please forgive me if its all a bit dated.
I had the opportunity to attend another Archives Unleashed event in February this year (AU3.0), this time hosted at the Internet Archive where it coincided with a symposium on the WASAPI Project (more on that later). The event began much like earlier iterations, with some opening slides from the hosts and organisers about the group and some general overviews on web archiving tools, available datasets, data formats and the like. As in previous years, the Internet Archive’s Jefferson Bailey and Vinay Goel gave a talk introducing the available APIs and datasets hosted by the Archive, but also included some information on the collaborative projects the Archive has undertaken with researchers over the years. Personally I found this presentation super interesting, not only because it gave a sense of the types of projects that the Archive has supported (through access to web archives), but also for more self-serving reasons related to my PhD research…
There’s something I’ve noticed, which I expect makes me not alone. The PhD is a lonely place, even when you’re part of a Doctoral Training Centre where 80-some-odd PhD students are embarking on the research process, each securely pre-equipped with all the self-doubt, anxiety and uncertainty that seems to come with the territory. Luckily we have conferences, ‘unconferences’ and ‘hack-a-thons’ to bring us together – nay, force us to meet and mingle both other students and ‘experts’ in our fields.