Three-and-a-half years and an elephantine amount of effort in the making, Routledge have just published their Companion to Global Internet Histories. Congratulations to Gerard, Mark, Emily and the rest of the editorial team. It looks like a much-needed corrective to the US-dominated field of internet history, and contains some contributions from familiar names (to name but a few: Niels Brügger, Larissa Hjorth, Charles Ess, Goggin and McLelland themselves), other contributions from authors who deserve to become more well-known, and also, a chapter from me.
Mine’s called, in none-more-clickbaity style, ‘Porn Shock for Dons’, taking its name from a memorable Western Mail front page article about an incident that happened at my current employer the year before I became a student there. It mostly looks at the way that the Western Mail, Golwg and Y Cymro conceptualised new media in the early-to-mid 1990s, and the hopes and fears evident in their coverage of the internet and related digital platforms. It was excellent fun to research, and in getting the material together I wheeled my way through thousands of feet of microfilm (the early 90s being the pre-CD-ROM Dark Age), and hundreds of fascinating articles about the information superhighway, at least one of which genuinely and unironically used the term ‘interweb’. I’m not entirely sure I did complete justice to all the material, but the result is now there for you – or, let’s face it at that price, your library – to buy.
Goggin and McLelland’s introduction, available online for free, gives an idea of the scope and ambition of the volume. Hopefully it’ll be the first of many similar projects.