Spitting Image: Press photographs and memes as digital cultural heritage in Netarkivet

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This article deals with the challenges that confront libraries in their efforts to collect and make available national cultural heritage to researchers in today’s hybrid media society. The authors illustrate their arguments with a case study: Sigrid Nygaard’s photograph of a man spitting down on to immigrants from its initial appearance in a Tweet of 2015 to its reproduction in the national and international and social media, a field which also includes the many memes it engendered. The authors describe how the photograph became part of a heated debate on immigration policies and media ethics and suggest different academic fields in which the material can be studied, such as political science and media studies. They investigate a selection of sources and describe how these were collected by Netarkivet as part of the library’s obligation under the Legal Deposit Act, thereby providing insights into the different methods of finding and collecting material from the internet. Finally they argue that commonly known referencing practices are insufficient when it comes to web archive materials in general and point to a newly emerging referencing practice using so-called Persistent Web IDentifiers (PWID), which enable researchers to create precise and persistent references to web archive resources. The research was carried out to ensure that such materials would be saved and would continue to be available to researchers, to investigate and contribute to new collection methods, to cite digital cultural heritage, and to inform researchers about Netarkivet’s resources and ways in which one can work academically with the materials the archive contains.
TidsskriftDenmark. Kongelige Bibliotek. Fund og Forskning
Sider (fra-til)253-278
Antal sider26
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2019


  • Netarkivet
  • Digital kulturarv
  • Pressefotografi
  • Memes
  • Satire
  • pligtaflevering