Add a Comment to this Note (list members only)
Dead medium: Internet Archival Issues Part Two
From: (Bruce Sterling)
Source(s): "Archiving the Internet" by Brewster Kahle

"The Internet Archive is a new organization that is collecting the public materials on the Internet to construct a digital library. The first step is to preserve the contents of this new medium. This collection will include all publicly accessible World Wide Web pages, the Gopher hierarchy, the Netnews bulletin board system, and downloadable software.

"If the example of paper libraries is a guide, this new resource will offer insights into human endeavor and lead to the creation of new services. Never before has this rich a cultural artifact been so easily available for research. Where historians have scattered club newsletters and fliers, physical diaries and letters, from past epochs, the World Wide Web offers a substantial collection that is easy to gather, store, and sift through when compared to its paper antecedents. (((bruces remarks: Yes, and imagine yourself having *all* the Internet's libel, slander, copyright, privacy and obscenity problems in one convenient, easily-subpeonaed locale!)))

"Furthermore, as the Internet becomes a serious publishing system, then these archives and similar ones will also be available to serve documents that are no longer 'in print.'" (((bruce remarks: Why *should* the Internet become a 'serious publishing system?' Who will give way first? Will the Internet somehow become a scholarly archive, or will scholarly archives become troves of uncatalogable spam and gibberish?)))

"Apart from historical and scholarly research uses, these digital archives might be able to help with some common infrastructure complaints:

"* Internet seems unreliable: 'Document not found'
"* Information lacks context: 'Where am I? Can I trust this information?
* Navigation: 'Where should I go next?'

"When working with books, libraries help with some of these issues, with 'the stacks' of books, links to other libraries and librarians to help patrons."