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Collection Web Cultures Web Archive

About this Collection

Collection Period:
April 14, 2014 to ongoing.

The Web Cultures Web Archive includes sites documenting the creation and sharing of emergent cultural traditions on the web. The mission of the American Folklife Center is to document traditional cultural forms and practices, and the proliferation of smart phones, tablets, and wireless Internet connections has positioned networked communication as a space where people increasingly develop and share folklore. This collection, co-curated with scholars who study digital culture, captures a set of websites that document elements of the various digital vernaculars enabled through networked and computer-mediated communication. These sites comprise a wide range of everyday communication enacted by communities to create a shared sense of the world: reaction GIFs, image macros and memes; online communities that have established, shaped and disseminated communication tropes and themes; sites that document, establish and/or define vernacular language, such as Leet and Lolspeak, or icon-based communications, such as emoji; sites connected to DIY (do it yourself) movements of crafting and making; sites focused on documentation, development, proliferation, distribution and discussion of digital “urban legends” and lore, such as Creepypasta; and sites that focus on the development and dissemination of vernacular creative forms, such as fan fiction. The Web Cultures Web Archive offers a representative sampling of the collective cultural creation and self-documentation characterizing vernacular spaces on the World Wide Web, and, like many of those spaces, is in process. The American Folklife Center will continue to add to these collections, developing archival holdings that reflect the dynamic nature of the web itself.

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