The decline of text on the web

Whitehouse webpage with text blocks selectedI had a hunch that the webpages were deploying text less text than the used to.  I put together a study that looks at the use of text on webpages since 1999, using the Internet Archive’s archived webpages in the WayBackMachine.  I found that indeed there has been a decline, beginning around year 2005.

You can read the paper online at Information Research:

The rise and fall of text on the Web: a quantitative study of Web archives

Update (Oct 17, 2015): I have also blogged about this study on the CILIP blog and the Web Archives for Historians blog.

International Internet Preservation Consortium

eifelI’m in Paris for the IIPC 2014 General Assembly.  I am presenting on 3 web archiving projects that I have been working on: one solo and two with my colleague Debbie Rabina.  Below is the solo project:

Youth Deleted: Saving Young People’s Histories after Social Media Collapse

After twenty years of loosing personal digital files, I wonder if today’s youth’s digital shoeboxes of memories will be even thinner than my own.  To test this notion, the following research question is posed: When social media collapse, are youth disproportionately at risk of loosing their digital contributions? To study this, the age demographics of failing or failed social media will be analyzed.  The list of failed or failing social media is provided by the Archive Team’s “deathwatch,” which is a group of “rogue archivists” who save web content in danger of disappearing.  Results confirm that when social media collapse, youth are disproportionately at risk of loosing their digital contributions because young people disproportionately use the sites that fail.  Personal digital archiving outreach efforts need to continue working to educate young people about the risks of loosing digital content and how to avoid such loss.

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Update May 29, 2014: The slides from my second presentation, as well as everyone else’s presentation, is available on IIPC’s website.