This article that I wrote with David Zeitlyn and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger based on the digital ethnographic research I did for the Oxford Internet Institute/Oxford Anthropology in 2014/15 came out in May 2015. I've been traveling and working in Europe this summer and haven't had time to post it until now. Read it online (for free!) at First Monday: Learning from Failure: The case of the disappearing web site.

Abstract: This paper presents the findings of the Gone Dark Project, a joint study between the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology and the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University. The project has sought to give substance to frequent reports of Web sites “disappearing” (URLs that generate “404 not found” errors) by tracking and investigating cases of excellent and important Web sites which are no longer accessible online. We first address the rationale and research methods for the project before focusing on several key case studies illustrating some important challenges in Web preservation. Followed by a brief overview of the strengths and weaknesses of current Web archiving practice, the lessons learned from these case studies will inform practical recommendations that might be considered in order to improve the preservation of online content within and beyond existing approaches to Web preservation and archiving.

There's a PDF download available on my Academia page. Feel free to follow.

Are any other anthropologists working on digital preservation? Let me know in the comments.

Survey for Anthropologists

The Open Anthropology Cooperative exists because back in 2009, a group of like-minded anthropologists from around the world came together to create something genuinely new using a combination of free and open technologies, social media and self-government. In 2014, we're now looking at a fairly altered media landscape. Anthropology has also moved on, with greater awareness of open access, public anthropology and academic power imbalances, all originally sources of the OAC's founding philosophies. We were occupying academic anthropology before it became mainstream!

The OAC homepage has nearly 8,000 members. Our Facebook group is catching up with almost 4,000 members joining in the first year alone. What's more, some (probably a lot) of those new FB members do not have an account or profile at the OAC network. How can we unite the two audiences and encourage more participation between platforms? What are your most meaningful interactions at the OAC and how can your experience be improved? It's time to re-evaluate, grow and develop the site. For this, we need your help.

Take the brief survey here: OAC Member Survey 2014 (Survey closes March 31, 2014)

This survey is part of an effort by a team that includes Keith Hart, Ryan Anderson, Kate Wood and myself (Fran Barone). If you're up for the challenge, you can always join the team.

You can also post any comments or questions about this survey or your ideas for future site development in the OAC forum.

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