Here’s what being submitted as part of a panel proposal for C&W 2009:
Across the Web, the idea of the archive is ubiquitous, whether it chronicles the history of a blog, a digitized collection of a given author’s works, or of the Web itself, as in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine (<http://www.archive.org/web/web.php>). While the questions surrounding sustainable computing rightly draw our attention to how we can meet current technological needs, the idea of the archive also invites an inquiry into the nature of the digital past. Although Peter Lunenfeld has argued that “nothing ages faster and becomes inaccessible quicker than electronic media”, the idea of the archive problematizes that notion and prompts us to ask what is left behind in the forward rush of technological innovation. How do consumers adapt to new technologies and what do they do with the old? Can we theorize, for example, a condition of “digital antiquity” in which a digital “antique” is not just outmoded but valued in the same way, for example, as the Queen Anne furniture on Antiques Roadshow? This paper argues for the idea of a “digital antiquity” as one way to theorize what becomes of the artifacts of the digital past.