Watch Anne Helmond’s talk about platform and app historiography at NetLab Forum, November 1, 2019

On November 1, NetLab/DIGHUMLAB hosted a talk with guest lecturer Anne Helmond, Assistant Professor of New Media and Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam.

Anne is a member of the Digital Methods Initiative and App Studies Initiative research collectives where she focuses her research on the history and infrastructure of social media platforms and apps. Her research interests include digital methods, software studies, platform studies, app studies, infrastructure studies and web history.

Learn more about the topic of Anne's talk and the web archiving community

5 quick questions for Anne Helmond

After the talk, DIGHUMLAB did an interview with Anne with five quick questions. 

  1. What are your research interests? 
  2. What sparked your interest in this field?
  3. What are you working on at the moment? 
  4. What are you looking forward to in your work? 
  5. How do I get started with web history and web archiving? 

Take a look at the video to hear Anne’s answers.


ABSTRACT: "The multivalency of web archives for platform and app historiography" by Anne Helmond, University of Amsterdam, Digital Methods Initiative

This presentation discusses the archival challenges and research opportunities of new ephemeral digital objects such as platforms and apps. How are these objects currently being archived, what is being archived, where, and by whom?

To help answer these questions, this presentation puts forward a method for assessing the source availability of social media platforms and apps in web archives using MemGator. The source availability for these objects raises the question to what extent web archives need to reconsider their archiving strategies with the changing nature of the web, which no longer solely revolves around interlinking websites, but now also consists of ‘walled garden’ social media platforms and their connected mobile apps.

As archival strategies often focus on the ‘front-end’ user interface and on user data, web archives could be said to privilege cultural histories of social media and apps. A call is being made for archiving more broadly and deeply beyond the end-user interface in order to enable medium histories.

References mentioned

  • Gerlitz C and Helmond A (2013) The Like economy: Social buttons and the data-intensive web. New Media & Society 15(8): 1348–1365. DOI: 10.1177/1461444812472322.
  • Helmond A, Nieborg DB and Vlist FN van der (2019) Facebook’s evolution: development of a platform-as-infrastructure. Internet Histories 3(2): 123–146. DOI: 10.1080/24701475.2019.1593667.
  • Helmond A (2015) The Platformization of the Web: Making Web Data Platform Ready. Social Media + Society 1(2): 1–11. DOI: 10.1177/2056305115603080.
  • Helmond A and Vlist F van der (2019) Social Media and Platform Historiography: Challenges and Opportunities. TMG – Journal for Media History 22(1): 6–34.

See also

Watch the full talk by Anne Helmond: “The multivalency of web archives for platform and app historiography”

The program for the NetLab Forum also included two presentations on projects that have received IT Developer help. The two projects are:

  • The Historical Development of Tracking and e-Commerce on the Danish Web /Janne Nielsen, Assistant Professor (watch Janne’s talk in full length)
  • mHealth in Denmark: Findings from the web archive /Antoinette Fage-Butler & Loni Ledderer, Associate Professors