The title “Internet and Territories” reminds us that the Internet is often perceived as a territory, a “cyber-space” as L. Lessig puts it. Regarding specifically web archives, internet as territories refers to the various spaces of web archiving and access to the archives. With respect to political science and political communication research, online territories opened by candidates in the elections and their supporters are more and more extensive and sophisticated. The internet archives allow an in-depth analysis of them to be performed.
The title of this session “Internet and Territories” is an opportunity to reflect that spatial metaphors are often used in the case of the Internet, through words such as “online space”, “network” or “cyber-space”, when referring to the political aspects of communication infrastructures (Lessig, 2006). These metaphors refer mostly to the Internet as a place, a space, rather than as a device embedded in power relationships and used differently depending on social groups and actors. They also respond to a need for imagery on the part of users, and reflect professional practices within the computer science community (Guichard, 2007). But, beyond these territorial metaphors, it is important to think of the Internet as an intertwined mix of very different entities. Web archivists face this technical diversity, when, for instance, machines are unable to archive some of the online materials. Users also have to deal with this, for instance when, browsing from one archived online source to another, or from one archive period to another, they realize they have to work with online sources of various qualities and various scopes.