Remix, Slang and Memes: A New Collection Documents Web Culture

 at the Library of Congress: “…just announced the release of the Web Cultures Web Archive Collection, a representative sampling of websites documenting the creation and sharing of emergent cultural traditions on the web.

Why is this important? Increasingly, people take to their smart phones, tablets and laptops to enact much of their lives through creative communication, making the web a predominant place to share folklore. It is where a significant portion of the historical record is now being written.

Archived from the web starting in 2014, the new—and growing—collection of collaborative cultural creation includes reaction GIFs (animated images, often bodies in motion, used online as responses or reactions to previous posts in a communication thread); image macros (photographic images on which a funny caption is superimposed); and memes (in this context, internet phenomena).

Because the collection aims to document online communities that have established, shaped and disseminated communication tropes and themes, it also includes sites that capture icon-based communications, such as emoji, and those that establish or define vernacular language. Examples of these include “Leet” and “Lolspeak,” two examples of written English language that derive from internet usages. Leet emerged from 1980s software piracy communities, referring to “elite” code wranglers. Lolspeak primarily features in memes and carries collective meaning as the form of English that cats might use.

Some sites represent the DIY (do-it-yourself) movements of crafting and making—for example, Instructables. Still others focus on the distribution and discussion of digital “urban legends” and lore, such as Creepypasta, or vernacular creative forms, such as fan fiction.

The project is a contemporary manifestation of the AFC’s mission to document traditional cultural forms and practices, and results from the collaborative work between the AFC and those steeped in digital culture, both scholars and enthusiasts….(More)”.