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#Abstract; #Info


Reconstructing Web History

Tracing the Trajectory of Lists on the Internet Movie Database

T. de Keijser, F. N. van der Vlist (alphabetical)

This report presents a single-site history or site biography of the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and interprets the results of a Web historical analysis through the conceptual lens of Internet list-making culture. The primary soure of Web historical material in our analysis is the Internet Archive, which has been collecting an increasing amount of ‘snapshots’ since November 1996. The main objective is to trace the list as it has been relocated or evolved into different forms over the course of the years so as to be able to read these developments side-by-side with other technological, social and cultural changes. Based on this historical analysis, we show that the list as such has transformed into a list hub or more appropriately a reference database that compiles a range of list genres and as such has been integrated into a number of devices and services external to itself that draw from IMDb.com as a resource of information about movies and celebrity culture. Moreover, we argue that in its current form, the design of IMDb.com constructs a user who is expected to generate order in an initially undifferentiated set of items (i.e. build lists) through particular interactions. Finally, we also reflect briefly on Web historiographical practice from the perspectives of Internet research and digital methods (Rogers 2013) in a broader sense.

Internet research; digital methods; Web historiography; Internet Archive Wayback Machine; Internet culture; lists; database; IMDb


Kind Assignment; Report
Author T. de Keijser; F. N. van der Vlist
Instructor A. Ben-David; E. K. Borra; B. Rieder; R. A. Rogers
Publication Date 2013, November 15
Institution University of Amsterdam