Big Data Science Over the Past Web

08/03/2021 ∙ by Miguel Costa, et al. ∙ 0

Web archives preserve unique and historically valuable information. They hold a record of past events and memories published by all kinds of people, such as journalists, politicians and ordinary people who have shared their testimony and opinion on multiple subjects. As a result, researchers such as historians and sociologists have used web archives as a source of information to understand the recent past since the early days of the World Wide Web. The typical way to extract knowledge from a web archive is by using its search functionalities to find and analyse historical content. This can be a slow and superficial process when analysing complex topics, due to the huge amount of data that web archives have been preserving over time. Big data science tools can cope with this order of magnitude, enabling researchers to automatically extract meaningful knowledge from the archived data. This knowledge helps not only to explain the past but also to predict the future through the computational modelling of events and behaviours. Currently, there is an immense landscape of big data tools, machine learning frameworks and deep learning algorithms that significantly increase the scalability and performance of several computational tasks, especially over text, image and audio. Web archives have been taking advantage of this panoply of technologies to provide their users with more powerful tools to explore and exploit historical data. This chapter presents several examples of these tools and gives an overview of their application to support longitudinal studies over web archive collections.

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