Speaker: Ian Milligan
The Web as Infinite Archive: Why we Turned to Machine Learning, Distributed Computing, and Interdisciplinary Collaboration to understand the Recent Past
The continually-growing volume of cultural heritage held in web archives is a vast resource awaiting the use of researchers in fields as varied as history, political science, sociology, and computer science. While web archives have been collected and saved since 1996, scholarly use has lagged due to the sheer scale of the data that confronts potential users. In this talk, Ian Milligan argues that interdisciplinary collaboration, bringing together librarians, computer scientists, and historians, holds the best pathway forward. Drawing on two case studies, one using web archives to systematically explore the transition between two US Presidential Administrations, and the second on developing scholarly infrastructure for the study of web archives, this talk highlights efforts to "unleash" web archives.
Ian Milligan is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Waterloo. His primary research is on how historians can use web archives. To that end, he’s principal investigator of the Web Archives for Historical research group, which is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Compute Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. In 2016, he was awarded the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities Outstanding Early Career Award.