Documenting Disasters: Archiving Born-Digital Historical Evidences in Crisis

Documenting Disasters: Archiving Born-Digital Historical Evidences in Crisis

facebook icon twitter icon email icon telegram icon link icon whatsapp icon

October - December 2022

online / zoom / youtube

How do we capture crisis events under emergency circumstances? What steps do we make in order to create an archival response for an emergency event? How do we think of a long-standing outcome out of an ad hoc initiative? How do we preserve digital-born social media sources, like Telegram groups, Facebook posts or TikTok videos? How do we develop research infrastructure for it?

These questions are particularly relevant in the context of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Various institutional and private initiatives in Ukraine and beyond responded to the threat of war with emergency archiving as an act of resistance and humanitarian aid. Coming from various disciplines and backgrounds, such projects reflect a broad spectrum of needs, motivations and methodologies of documenting crisis events: preserving endangered heritage, documenting war developments, investigating war crimes, destruction and atrocities, or capturing a multiplicity of everyday practices and war experiences across the country. 

This year's edition of Digital History Seminars by the Center for Urban History is organized as a series of events to share and collectively discuss digital archiving efforts that emerged as a response to various crisis events in Ukraine and globally. It will also offer an opportunity to learn about the experience of other responsive archiving initiatives and talk about the theoretical or methodological issues they are dealing with. We would like to use this format to address questions on the long-term sustainability of online media archives, and the ethical, legal or technological challenges of preserving personal data, and sensitive content. 

Digital History Seminars

Explore methodological, ethical, and theoretical aspects of generating, collecting, and analyzing digital or digitalized sources as testimony on the past and the worlds in which people used to live or are still living. The idea of the seminars is built around the notion that digital technologies and digital methods in historical studies are the broader domain than of programming scholars and technicians. Within this discussion platform, we aim at addressing the issue of how it applies to the historical community in its entirety.

Digital History Seminars are supported by the Center for Governance and Culture at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland).

  • img

  • img


Cover Image: SOS Army / Facebook page