With a view to promoting the establishing of a collaborative European research infrastructure for the study of archived web materials the RESAW network — A Research Infrastructure for the Study of Archived Web Materials — was established in late 2012 as a coordinated, self-organising, and self-financing network. In the Spring of 2016 the RESAW network served as the basis for the preparation of an application to EU’s Horizon 2020 funding scheme. The network activities are coordinated by Niels Brügger (Aarhus University, NetLab & the Centre for Internet Studies), but they rely on a high degree of self-organising and self-financing; in the main activities are based on the initiative of the participants, but some general activities (website, Newsletter, etc.) will be taken care of by the coordinator.

Abstract from stage 1-proposal, submitted to Horizon 2020, March 2016:

Over the last two decades the Web has become an integral part of European society, culture, business, and politics. But Web content disappears rapidly—the average lifetime of a webpage is two months. To provide future access to this increasingly important digital cultural heritage, key research infrastructures in the form of national Web archives have been established in a number of European countries. But for the researcher who wants to study values and lifestyles, views and beliefs, identities and cultures across European borders, these national Web archives become an obstacle since they delimit the borderless flow of information on the internet with national barriers. High-quality research across borders requires free and efficient cross-border researcher access to national Web archives. To meet this need RESAW will establish and operate a collaborative world-class trans-national European research infrastructure that enables cross-border studies of the archived Web by integrating and opening up existing Web archives. RESAW mobilises a comprehensive consortium of partners, including the national Web archives of Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and the UK, and the US-based Internet Archive, as well as eight research institutions and one specialist consultancy company from six different Member States. RESAW is in line with the EU’s ambitions expressed in The Digital Agenda for Europe, and will provide services that do not exist today which will put Europe at the forefront in this field. By facilitating easy access to large amounts of cultural heritage Big Data, as well as searching, selecting and analysis of the material itself, RESAW will make the research process more efficient and enhance the European Research Area. It is thus expected to have a transformative impact on a wide range of researchers who want to use material from national Web archives other than their own.

RESAW timeline

2016, August: Invited to submit full proposal to Horizon 2020.

2016, March: Submission of stage 1-proposal to Horizon 2020.

2015, June: The conference ‘Web Archives as Scholarly Sources: Issues, Practices and Perspectives’ was held in Aarhus.

2014, December: A one-day seminar was organised in London (funded by the BUDDAH project and by the Danish Digital Humanities Lab) where the next steps of the RESAW network was debated.

2014, April: The public website resaw.eu is established.

2014: February: A plan of activities for 2014-16 was drafted, and pilot projects and other activities initiated.

2013, December: A two-day seminar was organised in Aarhus (funded by the Danish Digital Humanities Lab) where the next steps of the RESAW network was debated.

2013, May-June, September, November: Three web discussions for all network participants were organised.

2013, Spring: The RESAW network group continues to expand, and a web forum was established on resaw.eu.

2013, February: In the assessment report Consultation on possible topics for future activities for integrating and opening existing

national research infrastructures (The European Commission, February 2013) a European research infrastructure for the study of archived web materials was recommended among the topics with high potential and with merit for future Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructure actions.

2012, October: A proposal to the EU Commision’s consultation was prepered and handed in.

2012, September: The RESAW network group was formed with a view to handing in a proposal to the EU Commision’s consultation on ’Possible topics for future activities for integrating and opening national research infrastructures’; app. 50 participants (web archives, scholars, and other stakeholders).