CRITICAL CARE & THE EARLY WEB: ETHICAL DIGITAL METHODS FOR ARCHIVED YOUTH DATA
Keywords:critical feminist data studies, web archives, methods, youth data, ethics of care, data sovereignty
AbstractThis paper demonstrates an ethico-methodological approach to researching archived web pages created by young people throughout 1994-2005 that was collected and stored by the Internet Archive. Rather than deploying a range of computational tools available for collecting web data in the Internet Archive, my approach to this material has been to start with the person: I recruited participants through social media who remembered creating websites or participating in web communities when they were younger and were interested in attempting to relocate their digital traces. In a series of qualitative, online semi-structured interviews, I guided participants through the Wayback Machine’s interface and directed them towards where their materials might be stored. I adapted this approach from the walkthrough method, where I position the participant as co-investigator and analyst of web archival material, enabling simultaneous discovery, memory, interpretation and investigation. Together, we walk through the abandoned sites and ruins of a once-vibrant online community as they reflect and remember the early web. This approach responds to significant ethical gaps in web archival research and engages with feminist ethics of care (Luka & Millette, 2018) inspired by conceptual framing of data materials in research on the "right to be forgotten” (Crossen-White, 2015; GDPR, 2018; Tsesis, 2014), digital afterlives (Sutherland, 2020), indigenous data sovereignty and governance (Wemigwans, 2018), and the Feminist Data Manifest-No (Cifor et al, 2019). This method re-centers the human and moves towards a digital justice approach (Gieseking, 2020; Cowan & Rault, 2020) for engaging with historical youth data.
How to Cite
Mackinnon, K. (2021). CRITICAL CARE & THE EARLY WEB: ETHICAL DIGITAL METHODS FOR ARCHIVED YOUTH DATA. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.11974