“The Webrecorder’s Challenge of Enabling Access to Dynamic Webbased Art” presented by McKeehan


Session Title:

  • Archiving Media Art: Rapid Response Art History - Tools and Techniques for a Fast-Changing Art World

Presentation Title:

  • The Webrecorder’s Challenge of Enabling Access to Dynamic Webbased Art




  • Rhizome’s award-winning digital preservation program aims to support social memory for internet users and networked cultures through the creation of free and open source software tools that foster decentralized and vernacular archives. Its key role is also to ensure the growth of and continuing public access to the Rhizome ArtBase, a collection of 2,000+ born-digital artworks started in 1999. ‘Born-Digital’ is a term which aids in understanding the media support structure these works were made with and rely on for their experience. These works may not be accessioned as in a museum collection, but in many cases Rhizome remains the only point of access to them. Current digital preservation solutions were built for that earlier time and cannot adequately cope with what the web has become – dynamic, with embedded video, javascript, and other variable elements – in many ways, more rhizomatic.

    Rhizome is about to undertake the comprehensive technical development of Webrecorder, an innovative tool to archive the dynamic web. Webrecorder will be a human-centered archival tool to create high-fidelity, interactive, contextual archives of social media and other dynamic content. The interesting feature of Webrecorder relevant to this discussion is the way in which the free (open source) service will allow users to archive dynamic web content through browsing, and to instantly review that archived content and download their own copy of it. By permitting users to host a public or private archive collection on the site, Webrecorder lets us all become art historians of net art. In this presentation one of Rhizome.org’s team of gurus will describe and demonstrate Webrecorder with reference to the ways it will support the rapid archivisation of unstable media.

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