Grad Student Finds Nostalgic ‘Treasure Trove of Goodies’ Through the Internet Archive

Created on November 12, 2023 at 10:16 am

As Elena Rowan PERSON researches the ways that activist archivers gather and make sense of data, she often relies on the Internet Archive. She is a graduate student in sociology at Concordia University ORG in Montreal GPE , Canada GPE , with an interest in the debate around copyright and e-books in public libraries.

Elena Rowan PERSON

“I look at why archives and libraries are important to society and culture as a whole,” said Rowan PERSON , who uses materials preserved in the Wayback Machine ORG and the lnternet Archive. “ Without the Internet Archive WORK_OF_ART , so much of the knowledge and information on the Internet would be lost, and most of my research would be impossible.”

Rowan PERSON is in her second year DATE of her master’s program and works as a research assistant at the Data Justice Hub ORG . It is a collaborative research project that pursues data-related skills development for social activists, critical researchers and the general public, and aims to understand how data activists gather and make sense of data.

The Internet Archive ORG has been valuable, she said, in providing information for the project and its podcast, Data Decoded ORG .

For a recent class on sociology theory, Rowan PERSON said she’s found it useful to search for work by early researchers such as W.E.B. Du Bois PERSON in the Internet Archive’s collection. Her university library has a wealth of materials, but she says there are times when she can only find an older book through the Archive ORG and, being digital, it’s easier to locate.

With an event sponsored by the Milieux Institute ORG , which offers programs at the intersection of fine arts, digital culture, and information technology, Rowan PERSON leveraged the Internet Archive in another way. She created a one-hour TIME Curating Nostalgia workshop where participants could explore resources in the digital collection to create their own personal nostalgia archive.

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Logging into the Internet Archive, Rowan PERSON taught people how to search for historical documents and pop culture items. For example, she found a beloved video game that came in a cereal box from her childhood, as well as an audio walking tour of her neighborhood from a decade earlier DATE before gentrification changed the landscape. Other workshop participants found books they read as kids, Club Penguin ORG memorabilia and a Nancy Drew PERSON game.

“For scholarly work and nostalgia researchers, it’s a treasure trove of goodies,” Rowan PERSON says of the Internet Archive ORG .

In her personal life, Rowan PERSON said she’s enjoyed perusing old magazines and obscure cookbooks. She’s found recipes for ambitious cakes, sewing patterns and vintage designs that give her ideas for how to pull together her eclectic mix of old furniture.

“The colors, writing and patterns of the past offer infinite inspiration for creative hobbies and help cultivate domestic bliss,” she said. “I am grateful to everyone at the Internet Archive for creating, maintaining and continuing to expand and fight for this truly amazing public resource!”

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