Asking questions with web archives – introductory notebooks for historians has won the British Library Labs Research Award for 2020. The awards recognise ‘exceptional projects that have used the Library’s digital collections and data’.
This project gave me a chance to work with web archives collections and staff from the British Library, the National Library of Australia, and the National Library of New Zealand, and was supported by the International Internet Preservation Consortium’s Discretionary Funding Program.
We developed a range of tools, examples, and documentation to help researchers use and explore the vast historical resources available through web archives. A new web archives section was added to the GLAM Workbench, and 16 Jupyter notebooks, combining text, images, and live code, were created.
Here’s a 30 second summary of the project!
The judges noted:
“The panel were impressed with the level of documentation and thought that went into how to work computationally through Jupyter notebooks with web archives which are challenging to work with because of their size. These tools were some of the first of their kind.
“The Labs Advisory Board wanted to acknowledge and reward the incredible work of Tim Sherratt in particular. Tim you have been a pioneer as a one-person lab over many years and these 16 notebooks are a fine addition to your already extensive suite in your GLAM Workbench. Your work has inspired so many in GLAM, the humanities community, and BL Labs to develop their own notebooks. To our audience, we strongly recommend that you look at the GLAM Workbench if you’re interested in doing computational experiments with many institutions’ data sources.
Thanks to Andy, Olga, Alex, and Ben for your advice and support. And thanks to the British Library Labs for the award! #dhhacks