Recovering an ephemeral life online

During the past two decades, the Internet and its applications have become among scholars’ wealthiest sources of bibliographical information. The traces of one’s life online can be rich and varied through email lists, web pages, blogs, video and sound recordings, and publications in various guises. At no other time in history has there been so much recorded information about individuals, both public and private, often kept in perpetuity in the darkest anterooms of the web.

My first web page from 1995 (snapshot 1998)

However, finding information in the dark is always accessible and requires various techniques and investigative scenarios to assist more contemporary bibliographical studies.  Surprisingly, many deleted web pages, blog posts, and videos can be recovered and studied through online archives, searching, and forensic techniques. As someone active online for 17 years, the traces of one’s online life can reveal the centrality of the medium to significant life narratives that are often both challenging and embarrassing. These sources can embellish bibliographical records with other analogue and oral sources and have become vital to bibliographic investigations.



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