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1 Contemporary Culture and the Web Dr Axel Bruns Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology

2 A Tale of Two Webs… Web development in divergent directions: towards greater commercialisation – high production values, broadband-ready, but relatively non-interactive packaged content towards more user co-creativity – highly interactive, open-ended and unfinished forms, emerging from the grassroots

3 A: From Homepages to Blogs Homepages: began as basic information pages, with personal details, favourite links, etc. usually static, using plain HTML, infrequently edited, non- interactive Blogs: ranging from public diaries to personal commentary on current events dynamic, database-driven, frequently updated, enabling user commentary and interlinkage with other sites (e.g. embedded in a vast, loose network of blogs: the blogosphere

4 B: From Community News to Open News Community News: began as a simple way of updating current events of interest to a specific group usually on static HTML pages, updated by a small group of enthusiasts, non-interactive Open News: large-scale Web publications created and edited by the community itself dynamic, database-driven content enabling any user to submit new content or comment on published stories, or even to help edit submitted content (e.g.

5 C: From Resource Sites to Wikis Resource sites: began as collections of background information on specific topics usually on static HTML pages, maintained by a small group of experts in their field, non-interactive Wikis: collaboratively edited, database-driven encyclopaedias on specific topics drawing on the expertise of large user communities which are able to add and edit content at any time (e.g. the Wikipedia)Wikipedia

6 Common Traits Technology: reliance on database backends makes sites dynamic, interactive, and searchable such technology is now in the hands of end users, not just corporations (users are often the earliest adopters) Community: move from individual to communal authorship: users comment on and edit one anothers work (sites resemble palimpsests) open source model: trust in the power of eyeballs in improving the quality of content heterarchical rather than hierarchical power structures Creativity: move from mere interactivity to intercreativity (Tim Berners-Lee) free contribution of ones work in support of a greater good (a creative commons)creative commons

7 Beyond the Webpage Change in the basic unit of information: from the individual page to the individual entry e.g. a blog posting e.g. a news story e.g. an encyclopedia entry towards syndication of information e.g. through RSS (Rich Site Summary) newsfeeds (see RSS feed for BBC News on feed for BBC e.g. through feed aggregator and analyser services (see Daypop rankings of most popular topics and links)Daypop e.g. through TrackBack and other networking tools (see TrackBacks in Lawrence Lessigs blog)Lawrence Lessigs blog

8 Information as Virus Information becomes viral: detached from its traditional host, the Webpage carried rapidly through multiple channels attaching itself to various hosts in mutated forms Content is detached from format: embedded in different contexts, modified and commented upon forming a true web of information, not merely a web of pages widely distributed across multiple platforms and contexts analogous to filesharing, where music is detached from its physical carrier medium (but here usually legal and intentional)

9 Implications for Web Archiving What should be archived? it may begin to make more sense to archive individual entries rather than whole pages Who is the author? collaboratively edited content has complex, multiple authorship which is not always readily apparent How to capture the context? distributed webs of information spread across multiple Websites are difficult to archive How to capture the functionality? content may only become visible as users query these Websites: it may be useful to archive the database backend How to identify new trends?

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