A warm greeting followed by a sneeze and nasty cough! Seems like this ongoing weather mind f*ck between +0°C and -5°C, combined with a lot of incessant stress and lack of sleep because of it has taken it's toll and made me ill -___-. Despite not being able to come to the Digital culture lecture on Monday, I bravely defied the fever and visited the National Library in order to complete the earlier given extra task for said course, namely to browse around the Web Archives of the National Library and web archives of the Internet Archives website and compare the experiences.
After slight moment of standing around and looking stupid in the northern reading room at the National Library I decided to ask for help considering the web archive there. A helpful gentleman of the staff showed me to a computer and gave a quick introduction, also offering me aid in the form of a folder with general information on the Web Archive. I found it quite versatile and easily usable – it offered a vast expanse of information and material, allowing one to search for entire web pages or then search for web pages by entering keywords. Since I couldn’t come up with any web page, I tried by entering a keyword ("Victorian gender roles", quite connected to the topic of my pro-seminar :’D). Up popped material in mainly Finnish and English, some pages proven quite interesting.
The time span of digitised web archives reared from January 1st 2006 to (quite peculiarly) January 1st 2013, and also displayed how many times a certain amount of pages had been viewed. I supposed the search would have been more accurate, had I really known what I was looking for, in fact. Often it worked as such, that it looked for material including those to words, which essentially did not have much to do with “victorian gender roles” on the whole. Essentially, it seemed quite much like something akin to Google. In the end I felt I could acquire the same effect with Google, in case I did not know what I was looking for. The web archive works well, however, if you know what you’re looking for and it’s dated back to 2006.
I also took a look at the other services offered by the National Cultural Archives, which the Web archives were part of. These included the National Audiovisual Archive (KAVA) with an archive on Finnish Radio and Television programs. This contains digital material (ohfrom from the year 2009 forwards. This archive in questions seemed slightly confusing to browse around first, but after a while seemed quite helpful, allowing you to view, observe and play digitised material from Finnish television.
The Digital Collections of the Web Archive, which were another part of the National Cultural Archives, seemed very interesting, with Newspapers (dating back to the end of 1770’s), Ephemera (dating back to 1855) and journals (dating back to 1890’s). I consider this digitised part of the archive amazing and perfect for research or just idle browsing around and enjoying old newspapers. The digitised versions of the pages were clear and although the style of the older days might be a bit challenging at times (yeah, I sucked a palaeography -___-…), they are very well preserved. Entertaining and informative – I could’ve sat there all day scrolling down page after page of old newspapers. I guess this could offer me an interesting field of research on some topic.
The Internet Archive was in a manner much more accessible, since it didn't require visiting a certain building in order to access the site. On the front page it presented itself as "non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public." Wow, that sounds classy and nice, and most importantly - easy to work with 8D! So I decided to browse around and gather material and knowledge for my comparative study. When I started looking at the page further, it seemed quite chaotic with a lot of material and To remain true to my original random topic, I typed in "Victorian gender roles" again. Up popped 0 results, f*cking great. I tried again with the search word "Victorian era" and this time I had more luck - I encountered around 123 results. Most were digitised books, which could be read online. "The Literature of the Victorian era" which I browsed around in, from 1923, was very-well preserved, bright in colour and good in quality to read.
In the end I came to the conclusion, that both the Web Archive of the National Cultural Archives and the Internet Archive are slightly complex and it takes a while yo learn to manoeuvre the pages - especially if you don't know what you're looking for. Knowing the web exact page, name of a blog, a topic or such really helps you getting somewhere with the search. Unless I need some really specific for a project, analysis or research at the university, I think I'll personally stick to normal Internet and Google instead...
P.S. I just realised, after writing everything above, that in my delirious fever state I must have misunderstood the assignment, namely the part about checking out some Finnish website and whether it's found on both the Web Archives of National Library and on the Internet Archives and compare these experiences. I'm sorry for the mess-up >___< ! Hopefully no one gets their knickers in a twist because of this little error...my bad! Here's, however, a nice picture to make you all feel better about it ^__^'!