Review of History in the Age of Abundance in Internet Histories

Max Kemman, a recent PhD and now researcher/consultant (with a great and active blog), has just published a review of History in the Age of Abundance in Internet Histories (full disclosure: I am an editor of Internet Histories, but did not know that this review was going to appear until Kemman tweeted about it!).

Happy to say that it’s a positive review, although Kemman pushes the book a bit for its ambiguity - at times I stress metadata and the limitations of search, yet at other places criticize platforms for not having transparent relevance-ranking. I suppose to me search is a necessary component of a platform, although I would prefer computational access being available.

It’s making me think about this aspect of my book, which is the sign of a good review (and all good reviews, I think, push the author in critical ways)!

A quick quote of Kemman’s review conclusion (in part):

Milligan convincingly argues that to study the 1990s will require a different set of practices to make sense of all the source material. This set of practices is both technical, requiring developments in methods and computational tools, as well as theoretical, requiring historians to think about the ethical issues of peering into people’s lives in ways not feasible before. The book thereby provides a clear introduction for historians of the 1990s to learn how to expand the source material with web archives, how to study these, and what ethical questions to consider.

Read it, either on Kemman’s site here (where he has generously provided a self-archived version) or at Internet Histories.

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Ian Milligan
Associate Professor of History

My primary research focus is on how historians can use web archives.