01.02.21

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Support the Internet Archive

Posted in SCO, Servers at 10:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Preservation of the World Wide Web is tricky when sites go offline, as Groklaw did just over two months ago; the Internet Archive is the main solution to such problems

THE World Wide Web (WWW) is a weird place because unlike a library it changes a lot every decade or so. Lots of sites perish, new ones appear, links constantly become broken, and sometimes sites change their link structure or page topology without properly redirecting (if at all). This means that it’s getting rather difficult to access and read old information. It means that studying WWW history is rather difficult.

“The arduous task of archiving the Web is done almost solely by the Internet Archive.”Over a decade ago Groklaw (copy at the Internet Archive) spoke about “Preservation” of all the hard work, which had been done for over half a decade. Nowadays it’s hard to even find a record (or preservation) of this article about “Preservation”, except in third party sites (second-hand accounts).

This whole episode, which is hardly unique, teaches us that the Web (WWW) is really terrible compared to decentralised libraries with many copies of books in them. “Preservation” is a lot easier that way and even sites that strictly prioritise “Preservation” cannot do it on their own.

We have fortunately made a copy of Bill Gates deposition tapes before Groklaw went offline, apparently for good.

The Web (WWW) isn’t going away any time soon. Alternatives to it do exist, but adoption of those is rather slow and they’re not one-to-one substitutes (they have different features and there’s no proper overlap/correspondence). The arduous task of archiving the Web is done almost solely by the Internet Archive. We therefore would be wise to support it. It’s probably by far the largest Web site (a superset of many sites).

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