When it comes to examining the history of the web on an international scale, I am most concerned with the question of access and historical prevalence. Who is accessing these archives is of importance because I question the idea that all information is archived regardless of relevancy. If the U.S. is the predominant country from which the Web Archives project is funded, what does this mean for the pages that are not U.S. “born” …are they still considered worth archiving if not related to U.S. history?
These are the questions I began to explore throughout my reading of “A fair history or the Web? Examining country balance in the Internet Archive” by Mike Thelwall and Liwen Vaughan. I am constantly aware of the information I may be limited to when studying the Caribbean from the United States. During the process of my research I make it a point to also visit pages in their national commercial search engines, like google.com.do for the Dominican Republic. It is extremely helpful that I know the language and can translate the documents and information from the Spanish language, but I often wonder if I only have the access because I am residing in “superpower” U.S., the main funder of the Web Archives project. The issue of invisibility is referenced throughout the reading and as an avid user of the web for research I contend that it is still an unresolved issue when archiving pages from smaller countries, or countries with little relation to the main funders of the project like the U.S. For example, I wonder if we have any access at all to national pages and information of communist Cuba, unless its created in the U.S.
I doubt the claim to universality when discussing the Web archives because the internet is a business and it is politicized as well. Every page does not get an equal opportunity to be seen as the ones who know the tricks of the trade are best off in terms of being ranked via SEO. One thing I conclude as a way around this issue is posting information as a blog page, where one could be on a more open platform through different mediums like the hashtag system. I do think blog pages can become more visible for academics and is more likely to be acknowledged than a regular web page because they are usually automatically connected to other similar pages. The Spaces between Words website looks like a page that is trying to do just that. They are powered by WordPress, known for blog hosting as well. They embrace other realms of interconnectivity on the web like their Podcasts, Tag cloud, Twitter handle, and links to a Facebook page. They increase their visibility and become more popular amongst people that may not necessarily consider themselves “academics” but can relate to the topic being discussed and “tagged” via simple WordPress search. WordPress is a huge commercial site and readily available to connect pages outside of the Search Engine Optimization race.
Great post and thanks for sharing!
Very interesting point, you pointed out an interesting question to ask in regards the to issues of access and digital privileged.
“It is extremely helpful that I know the language and can translate the documents and information from the Spanish language, but I often wonder if I only have the access because I am residing in “superpower” U.S., the main funder of the Web Archives project.”
Very interesting point, you pointed out an interesting question to ask in regards the to issues of access and digital privileged. In essence, is the information produced by google, bing, etc. changes based on who and where it is being accessed.
I agree with your views. US has been given the outmost privilege in case of SEO, Adsense and any other thing related to money or internet. A single click from a US might earn you $10 but the click on same ad from any country in Asia will (most probably) earn you less then 10 cents. Although I agree that fraudulent click from Asian countries are many times fake but that doesn’t meant that every click is fake or every click from US is real.
In case of SEO, US sites are always given the top most priority and many “SEO gurus” advise to target the traffic for US only. In my opinion, this is also a form of racism. What do you think?