Monday, September 3, 2018

Different Kinds of Archives

Dave Winer:

Most of the content of the Village Voice is probably already safely stored at But what about the domain? Don’t we also want to preserve the links into the site, for ongoing web sites that point to the Voice? Or when someone reads the preserved Scripting News, if I’m able to get that done, be able to click a link to a great Voice article and not get a 404? That’s analogous to preserving ancient Rome in addition to remembering its history. (BTW, some of it’s already gone. Here’s a post on this blog from 2004 that links to a VV article. Not found. Ouch.)

With the web we have the technical means to create a perfect archive, but without planning ahead, all we will have are the museums. And we are not doing the planning. The web, as a historic medium is far less than imperfect, it’s temporary. Only present as long as someone keeps paying the bills. And there’s no way to pay the bills far in advance, so the historic record has a literally no chance of surviving, given the current state of things.

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It's a lovely idea, but there is zero chance of buggy, insecure, bandwidth-heavy, dynamically generated webpages being successfully preserved for even five years after someone stops paying to serve & maintain them, never mind 50. Dave's still living in the 90s. I agree that I wish we could bring that web back, but it's long gone, and we're getting further away every day.

If I could just get the text (I'd take images too) kicked to something sortable and linkable, I'd deal with that. I don't care about layout for archiving.

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