Digital scholarship and the web: Exploring new sources and emerging research methods

November 28th, 2023

by the ARCH team

What is critical computational research and how do we root it in community? These questions guided the conversation at this year’s Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum panel, Digital Scholarship and the Web. Two sociologists and alumnae of the Archives Unleashed cohorts program shared early findings and encouraged attendees to increase support for computational research with cultural heritage collections as data.

Photos of panelists Karl Blumenthal (left) introducing the Archives Research Compute Hub (ARCH) and Rosario Rogel-Salazar (right) discussing web archiving initiatives in Latin America.

Left: Karl Blumenthal introduces the Archive Research Compute Hub (ARCH); right: Rosario Rogel-Salazar describes web archiving initiatives in Latin America (photos by Brian Rosenblum)

Dr. Emily Lynell Edwards introduced her team’s research on 2000s- and 2010s-era Mormon mommy blogging. Their project works to “historicize this period in relation to contemporary manifestations and trends of mommy influencing on social media platforms.” Primary sources for this research include the Brigham Young University web archive collections: Mormon Blogs, Mormon Journals & Magazines, and Mormon Websites.

Dr. Rosario Rogel-Salazar‘s team traces feminist movements in Latin America. They use natural language processing (NLP) to connect and distinguish movements across national boundaries. Columbia University’s Human Rights web archive collection was used as a primary source. Moving forward, Dr. Rogel-Salazar expressed a need for more coverage of Latin America in web archives generally and in Spanish particularly. Her team bridges the divide by hosting workshops, sharing documentation, and building their own web archive collection: Activismos feministas en América Latina.

Both scholars’ methods and findings will be published in the journal Internet Histories (2024). In the meantime, Dr. Edwards and her collaborators published the zine sliding data as a “choose your own adventure”-style guide to feminist methodologies for computational research data. Dr. Rogel-Salazar’s team continues to share their research and their growing archive on the Huellas Incómodas website.

Screenshots of three pages from the digital publication of the zine "sliding data."

Excerpts from sliding data by Robin Hershkowitz, Emily Lynell Edwards, and Lauren Andrikanich

The panelists were among the first adopters of the Archive Research Compute Hub, or “ARCH.” ARCH is an Internet Archive platform that helps users to build, analyze, publish, and preserve research datasets at scale from digital collections. It was developed with support from the Mellon Foundation.

Screenshot of a domain network graph produced with ARCH.

Exploring Mormon mommy blogs as a domain link graph produced with ARCH

ARCH development continues with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Internet Archive is collaborating with partners to develop user-informed workflows and enable a diverse set of libraries, archives, and museums to add digital collections in any format. To learn more please reach out to the ARCH team. And watch this space for many more updates to come!