Review Essay featuring History in the Age of Abundance in the American Archivist

Ed Summers has written a thoughtful review essay of two recent web archiving books in the current issue of the American Archivist, which is presently free to access due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the essay, he reviews History in the Age of Abundance alongside Niels Brügger and Ralph Schroeder’s 2017 edited collection The Web as History: Using Web Archives to Understand the Past and the Present.

Happy to say that Summers has positive things to say about the two books overall! For me, this quote popped out:

Two recently published books—one by Ian Milligan (2019) and one edited by Niels Brügger and Ralph Schroeder (2017)—provide essential guides to help answer the question of what web archives are by describing concrete, nonhypothetical examples of how social science and humanities researchers are using web archives today. For those who have participated in web archiving activity and pondered how the records would get used, and for those who are looking to get involved in web archiving but are not sure what it takes, these two books are essential reading.

I was curious how the book would be received within the archives profession. I take pains to note that the “web archive” of a web archive doesn’t line up nicely with the understanding of an “archive” within the profession, but there’s inevitably slippage in my work. Summers’ conclusion of the essay is essential reading as well, as it points towards a lot of cutting-edge scholarship – as well as a nice link to Emily Maemura’s great bibliography.

Anyways, you can read the full review here in HTML or as a downloadable PDF.

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Ian Milligan
Associate Professor of History

Exploring how technology is transforming historical research.