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Digital Archaeology Show Reveals 'Lost' Web Sites

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the find-the-buried-treasure dept.

The Internet 113

Stoobalou writes "The world's first ever 'archaeological dig' of the internet is set to begin this week in London's über-trendy Shoreditch. The exhibition, entitled Digital Archaeology, kicks off today to mark the 20th anniversary of the first stirrings of the world wide web. According to its organisers, valuable evidence from the interweb's early days is at risk of being lost forever. Digital Archaeology is an attempt to kick-start a wider attempt to archive the web in Britain's first 'digital archive'."

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Post of the year! (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34187236)

This has to be one of the best written and well thought out posts on /. I've ever seen. The TFA is also top notch.

Re:Post of the year! (4, Informative)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187400)

Right, because no one's ever [textfiles.com] considered doing this before. [archive.org] Especially not in the UK! [timesonline.co.uk]

Re:Post of the year! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34187446)

I don't believe he's referring to the content of the post...

Re:Post of the year! (1)

hey (83763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187610)

But they have art-ized it. (I think)

Re:Post of the year! (1)

petsounds (593538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189454)

This exhibition is probably indeed naff, to use the artist's local parlance, but it is a truth that most of the early web material is basically gone. archive.org started archiving web material in 1996, but there was a good three to four years of content prior to that, as the first web browser NCSA Mosaic 1.0 was publicly released in 1993.

Prior to that there was a proto-web available through the gopher protocol and WAIS [wikipedia.org] database interface. I doubt most any of that has been preserved.

Re:Post of the year! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34189652)

Erm. "local parlance"? All I see is a US-based marketing agency...

Re:Post of the year! (1)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189214)

it's funny when FP gets rated "redundant"

Perfect tool found for this project! (5, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187302)

When they started the dig, the scientists were amazed to see the old now defunct web has buried in it the perfect tool to do the digging! Gophers!

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34187650)

When they started the dig, the scientists were amazed to see the old now defunct web has buried in it the perfect tool to do the digging! Gophers!

Oh how I miss Gopher, Archie, and Veronica and gang. The modern-day World Wide Web is basically commerce-oriented with actual information content on a steady decline. Sad.

Forget Web 2.0. Let's move to Web 3.0 and a return to the original purpose of the Internet and World Wide Web, namely information-sharing and collaboration for the enrichment (betterment) of society through knowldge and its applications to solving problems.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187936)

Do you know how the foreign rescuers were able to understand the requests for help in Spanish during the Haiti earthquake? They fed the messages to a website, and a large community of english and spanish speaking people started realtime translating and feeding it back to the rescuers.

Examples of betterment of society using the Web are all around.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34188164)

Why were there requests for help in Spanish in a French speaking country?

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189118)

Sorry, I was mistaken. It was actually Haitian Creole.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189242)

apparently, there was rumor among victims that the Spanish Inquisition had sent their aid squad.
(an unexpected one)

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (2, Insightful)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34190788)

Indeed. I also often think of the importance of anti-war college students in the US who were chatting directly with Serbian college students during that war, and the potential long-term importance of that.

While the crassly commercial applications of the Internet have grown exponentially, the projects for the commonweal that have been around since the beginning have steadily grown. It struck me that yesterday at work, I was listening to a presentation on a proprietary search engine; enterprise clients use it to store and index tens or hundreds of millions of documents. Wikipedia currently claims a bit under 3.5 million articles in English.

So, commercial enterprises are storing volumes of data that (apparently) dwarf Wikipedia. Yet how many people refer to Wikipedia daily? The steady, if slower, growth of a project such as Wikipedia has a much greater social impact than those larger, better-finance corporate enterprise projects.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187994)

Let's move to Web 3.0 and a return to the original purpose of the Internet.

Do we have to? I'd rather just read pithy tweets and surf for porn.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34188554)

Porn was not part of the original purpose of the internet?

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188708)

Not if you look at the description the GP posted. He's all, "Oh let's share information for the enrichment of society."

And that does NOTHING to put videos of hot college girls going wild in my browser. :(

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189188)

No, it wasn't but it WAS in there by beta stage.

a tudelft.nl site had a daily porn download (1)

TrogL (709814) | more than 3 years ago | (#34190238)

Some nice stuff there.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189246)

yes, so there is quest to archive a vintage porn ;-)

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188754)

>>>Oh how I miss Gopher, Archie, and Veronica and gang. The modern-day World Wide Web is basically commerce-oriented with actual information content on a steady decline. Sad.

(50 years ago). Oh how I miss Radio. The modern-day television is basically commerce-oriented, while radio has devolved into a bunch of pop music.
(80 years ago). Oh how I miss Books. The modern-day radio is basically commerce-oriented, while books provided ad-free entertainment.
(100 years ago). Oh how I miss Live pianos/bands. The modern-day grammophone is basically commerce-oriented with actual talent on a steady decline - replaced with pop stars.
.

>>>Let's move to Web 3.0 and a return to the original purpose of the Internet and World Wide Web, namely information-sharing and collaboration for the enrichment (betterment) of society through knowldge and its applications to solving problems.

It still exists if you're willing to look. Like here: http://www.theblaze.com/ [theblaze.com] or here: http://www.drudgereport.com/ [drudgereport.com] or here: http://moveon.org/ [moveon.org] or here (one of the first websites): www.amazon.com. The original intent of the web did not go away..... it just was built-upon with new audio/video sites.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189346)

(50 years ago). Oh how I miss Radio. The modern-day television is basically commerce-oriented, while radio has devolved into a bunch of pop music.
(80 years ago). Oh how I miss Books. The modern-day radio is basically commerce-oriented, while books provided ad-free entertainment.
(100 years ago). Oh how I miss Live pianos/bands. The modern-day grammophone is basically commerce-oriented with actual talent on a steady decline - replaced with pop stars.

The problem with your analogy is that we still have radios, books, and live bands, but the internet we had ten and more years ago is long gone. It's all commercials now. Back in the nineties people were bitching about the few pages that had single banner ads.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189530)

>>>It's all commercials now.

As is typical with these kinds of statements ("all" "nothing left") it is false. It would be more accurate to say the web "almost" all gone, but there are still lots of websites that resemble the early web (no or few ads). There's even a few gopher sites around, and of course the pure-text Usenet which dates back to the 80s.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189720)

That's true, but they're few and far between now. The noise is drowning out the signal.

I wonder what [insert epithet here] modded your comment "troll"? I hope someone corrects it with an upmod. I don't agree with it, but it's no troll.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189972)

yep and the Fido net people thought that the internet would destroy the fidonet culture - I wonder if they have any thing from the 80's ie PRESTEL and Telecom Gold (Dialcom)

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34190960)

>>>

Slashdot does have a quote tag you know. Check it out, you just put <quote> at the front, and </quote> at the end!

Just try like this: <quote>OP is wrong because....</quote> and when you post it it becomes

OP is wrong because....

It really is that simple!

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189032)

Oh how I miss Gopher, Archie, and Veronica and gang. The modern-day World Wide Web is basically commerce-oriented with actual information content on a steady decline. Sad.

I hope you mean relative information content, because absolute information content is certainly increasing, and very rapidly at that, and that's what matters. Even effective signal-to-noise ratio isn't really getting worse considering all the search tools available. It is easier than ever to get to the interesting information (whatever that may be for an individual), and ignore irrelevant stuff (whatever that may be for an individual).

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189176)

What do you mean miss?

Why don't you go visit them? They still exist and are still used. And there are still even developers working in their spare time on them.

If you support them(and bring your friends) they may grow.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (3, Interesting)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187666)

Yay - text! I was quite thrilled with the technology at the time. Gopher and BBS systems actually made a 1200 baud modem seem useful. For you youngsters that don't know what we're talking about see here [wikimedia.org] . Now get off my lawn.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188824)

Or here. BBSing on a commodore 64 at 0.3 kb/s - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkHwT6o6Jvw [youtube.com]

Getting online at these speeds wasn't really any fun though. It was even slower than surfing the modern web on dialup. I later upgraded to a 2.4 kb/s modem and that was much better, although it still took 2 hours to download a single floppy.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189140)

And yet even then, we had porn....
it took all night to get a single picture, but we had porn!

And compressed audio too - remember ST-Mod files?

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189576)

No but I remember Commodore Amiga MOD files (where the format originated). ;-) The Amiga was the first computer to have the capability to recreate the Laserdisc games (Dragon's Lair/Space Ace) at home.

And the 16-color C64 porn did nothing for me, but being able to grab the entire Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue on an Amiga was sheer delight. The poor IBM and Mac users were stuck with 16 and 2 colors respectively. I had a "photorealistic" 4000 colors. (two thumbs up)

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34188988)

Hey I am in my early 20s and I've used Gopher and BBS. Now get your ass out of the way, old man. We are playing Frisbee here.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34189816)

What's with the https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/ ? Is it like using encrypted google?

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34190030)

Heh... I still remember going to a research center (CINVESTAV, Mexico) where my father was working and getting into Gopher...

I was about 10 years old back then, and it was an awesome place...

Then we got this Mosaic program, with a different structure. And so I discovered the WWW... and immediatly made my Geocities page (sunset strip... even though it had *nothing* to do with music) and started chatting randomly in WBS.

THose were the days... except that, instead of ads, we had the ubiqutous "this page is under construction" gifs...

What I miss more are the rings. They really helped you find intersting sites with similar information (nowadays of course, sites like del.icio.us help... unfortunately they are *heavily* biased towards some theme... and it gets more and more difficul to find technical stuff like, electronic circuits hobby pages and others)

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189162)

I hope they dig up Yello There; it's completely missing from the wayback machine, except for one page on my old Quake site. That parody of Blue's News was hilarious on an almost daily basis, and it's gone now.

Re:Perfect tool found for this project! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34191140)

I really wish Gopher made a comeback in some sense.
A few extensions of it here and there to improve what it can already do and it would be so good for bandwidth limited streams.
So much stuff has stupidly huge amounts of useless syntax just to make some messy looking site look slightly less messy.

Gopher, RSS and other things are so incredibly useful. And while RSS has essentially taken over from Gopher, it usually isn't rendered in a readable format in browsers by default, which is a shame since it limits some of the usefulness of it. (even though dedicated RSS readers are usually better anyway)
What would be nicer is if browsers said something along the lines of "You need an RSS reader to view this content, click here to see some extensions" and link them to a query of RSS reader extensions, bham, problem solved.

Wayback Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34187328)

So when are we going to get torrents for the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine?

Re:Wayback Machine (1)

basscomm (122302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188430)

Since the archive is around 2 petabytes [archive.org] it's probably going to be a while.

Waback machine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34187344)

Hasn't this been done before?

Prediction (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187356)

From TFA:

"In five years' time or so, I doubt websites will exist and I expect the vast majority of sites from the first twenty years of the web to be gone forever," says Jim Boulton, curator of Digital Archaeology.

This seems a pretty bold prediction. I know things in The Land Of The Tubes change pretty quickly, but no more websites in five years? Am I misreading that?

Re:Prediction (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187384)

Well, if the semantic web starts off, you won't need websites anymore - because you'd just ask your favourite software agent "I want to buy a Brand X cheap t-shirt", press a button and it'll scour the machine-readable servers on the internet and purchase it for you automatically.

I don't see this happening in 5 years though - people are too lazy.

Re:Prediction (2, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187534)

Well, if the semantic web starts off, you won't need websites anymore - because you'd just ask your favourite software agent "I want to buy a Brand X cheap t-shirt", press a button and it'll scour the machine-readable servers on the internet and purchase it for you automatically.

I don't see this happening in 5 years though - people are too lazy.

YOu have to admit, though, that the change is happening. But not on the PC, but smartphone. People are getting apps that are frontends to websites - eBay, Facebook, Craigslist, NY Times etc. And there's plenty of shopping apps too - from those that read barcodes and find you the online deals to others that dig out reviews and such. And while they won't buy it for you automatically, they'll link you to a buy-it-now button.

It's happening because people are lazy - you're in a store, why not use your phone to find out if it's a deal, get reviews and other things, right there, right now. Rather than note it down, go home, and spend time on the computer looking it up.

In fact, I think some people consider it to be a huge threat to the open internet when everyone's all cowered away tapping on their smartphones using apps rather than surfing using well-known protocols and standards. And those apps may or may not be using standard protocols. Segmenting the web away, slowly.

Re:Prediction (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187836)

People are getting apps that are frontends to websites - eBay, Facebook, Craigslist, NY Times etc.

True, but that only affects people, for whom the web boils down to a few sites. I admit that's most of today's web traffic. But the "old way" of finding interesting sites and reading other people's contribution is still there. And for this kind of web, the only useful interface is a browser.

And yes, I might start on slashdot. But unlike Facebook, there is no "slashdot-universe". With topics I find interesting I eventually end up on some non-apped website.

Blogs? IF there were a blog app, that would cover all the major blogs, and if all the interesting "plain" home pages switched to one of these blogs, yes, that would be the end of the html-based browsers. But then, my blog-app would be my browser.

Re:Prediction (2, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189208)

In fact, I think some people consider it to be a huge threat to the open internet when everyone's all cowered away tapping on their smartphones using apps rather than surfing using well-known protocols and standards. And those apps may or may not be using standard protocols. Segmenting the web away, slowly.

100% agree, it's very bad news, but I think if the iPhone/iPad were to lose popularity the trend would stop. Don't forget these apps were mostly made to work around the iPhone's crippled browsing experience. If another phone with a full-featured browser becomes the most popular (especially if it also has true multitasking with RSS reader widgets, etc) I think the "client app" trend will die off.

Re:Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34189328)

Sounds more like you're talking about the end of commerce on the web, not the end of the web. If commerce wants to move to other media and leave the web for information, that sounds fine by me. In fact, that's what the web was originally for before commerce came along and started screwing it up.

Re:Prediction (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187966)

Well, if the semantic web starts off

That's cute.

Re:Prediction (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34192310)

Are you making an anti-semantic comment?

Re:Prediction (4, Funny)

whitehaint (1883260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187434)

The web will be one big flash site using those neato web 2.0 buttons, and popups all over the place so you know where to get your hover car and penis pills. The future is bright indeed!

Re:Prediction (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187454)

I'd read that more like a ___ % drop in websites, as the little fun sites people ran for a year get old, and Web 2.0 works hard to punish old content. Then too the big media guys are trying to get a top-100 type mentality going where everything else becomes sub-par, like an "Eden-ization" of the web.

But "No websites at all" is flat impossible.

Re:Prediction (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187804)

More likely he means the migration of what would usually be traditional websites to apps and social media sites. I still don't buy it though, even if FB added e-commerce features, they'd want a cut of the profits and it would still probably be cheaper, easier and allow more control for companies to run their own sites. And there will still be plenty of people who just don't want to do things that way. I think the guy's either an idiot or just trying to stir up debate.

Re:Prediction (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188042)

even if FB added e-commerce features, they'd want a cut of the profits and it would still probably be cheaper, easier and allow more control for companies to run their own sites.

More control? Yes. easier, cheaper? Maybe not. If you don't have the sales volume to justify spending a whole lot of money building an ordering system, a service like paypal (or a similar service through facebook) could very well be popular with small/home business types. Lets you focus on your product, while the people with the big servers handle all the payment stuff for a (reasonable) fee.

Re:Prediction (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189546)

I think you're reading it wrong. They're not saying that websites won't exist, they're saying that many of today's web sites will be gone forever. Cartainly, many of my favorite sites from ten years ago were gone five years ago.

Jason Scott (5, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187392)

of textfiles.com is more of a "digital archeologist" than this wanker, because he might have all that stuff you posted to BBSs back in the 70s/80s.

Plus, he's got an awesome speech on the history of electronic porn, going back to tickertape machines and ham radio(think about that).

http://laughingsquid.com/jason-scott-on-the-atomic-level-of-porn-at-arse-elektronika-2009/ [laughingsquid.com]

This brings to my mind... how do you store stuff? (0)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187396)

This can be daunting. First, how would they store stuff in a way resistant to bit rot? For example, data stored on 5.25" floppies needs to be imaged and stored on other media. It also would need to be stored with plenty of error correction so that in the future, archivists can put in the relatively ancient hard disk and check to see if there is any irreparable damage. What comes to mind would be a CAS system that automatically copies and checks for errors data on older drives when newer drives are put in.

It would be nice to develop a format whose sole purpose in life is long term archiving with decent byte capacities. Perhaps a cube where three lasers heat up epoxy, forming a microscopic bubble at x,y,z coordinates for "1"s?

Second, emulation. Back then, it was essentially HTML with some basic LiveScript, then JavaScript and animated GIFs. Will we have a way to translate those add-ons in the future if everyone's Web browser consists of Flash and JavaScript is the code of the land, not HTML?

Re:This brings to my mind... how do you store stuf (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187538)

Maybe something like this [google.com] ?

Re:This brings to my mind... how do you store stuf (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187556)

Three or four standard hard disk backups is the equivalent to the cube you speak of, but a heck of a lot cheaper.

Re:This brings to my mind... how do you store stuf (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188392)

If there is a bad batch, then the archivists would have four dead hard disks on their hands, and no data.

Optical had the promise of near infinite life. However as time went on, oxidation and bit rot showed that often this would not be true. I am sure there is a way to do burned CDs that have a long archival life, but it would require far better manufacturing tolerances and processes than we have now to ensure that oxygen doesn't seep in along the edge of a layer, or even UV "weld" rings so if oxygen got in from the hub or edge, it wouldn't propagate to the other parts of the disk.

LOCKSS as mentioned by one poster is one idea, but really, life of data begins and ends with the lowest layer. If the way stuff is physically stored is not stable and long-lived, there are only so many bandaids that can be applied, and so much error correction code that can be slapped on.

I remember holographic storage being touted for this, but it seems that we hear an announcement, then nothing. There has yet to be a holographic storage product. Tamarak tried in the early 1990s. InPhase Technologies had products announced, but never shipped a single drive and got faceplanted last February.

So, essentially we are where we were 20 years ago. We have hard disks, flash memory, optical storage, and magnetic tape. Yes, all four technologies have matured, but there hasn't been anything revolutionary.

Long term archival needs more than just shuttling data between formats and making sure the data moved is intact. We need to be able to decode formats. For example, .MOD files. Who has a player for those these days? Does one find an A500 in an attic, and analog hole any files like that? Essentially, we need a PDF/a -like format for not just text, but audio and video.

Re:This brings to my mind... how do you store stuf (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188556)

Well get the hard disks from difference sources. The more you get, the closer the chance of non-recovery approaches 0. If you want a one in a 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 chance you can always get another couple of HDs. If even that is too risky, add another couple of HDs to make it another million times less risky.

Re:This brings to my mind... how do you store stuf (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188892)

CD-Rs don't erase themselves because of oxygen. They erase for the same reason why my carpets and paintings fade - the dye loses its color.
.

>>>MOD files. Who has a player for those these days?

I do. MOD never died as a format. I also have a HAM viewer for those old por... er, photos. 4000 colors baby. ;-)

Re:This brings to my mind... how do you store stuf (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187752)

There needs to be a custodian (or agency) which looks after the data.

I don't think coming up with some magical storage medium is the answer..

The current generation stores the data using whatever methods are used for insuring data integrity (multiple copies, raid, checksums, tape.. whatever).

The next generation should still have means to access data from one generation previous (just as I can still access stuff that was put on floppy disk/tape without too much difficulty.. I would have a hard time accessing stuff on punchcard or papertape). And it would be their responsibility to migrate it to the newest storage medium.

The problem of actually accessing and making sense of the data though, I agree, that is daunting. Older data it's not so bad, as most of it was plain text or very basic binary formats that could be boiled back down to text.. at least enough to get the raw content. With all the newfangled formats being used to store our data.. "what the hell is a .flac file" becomes a very real issue.

Re:This brings to my mind... how do you store stuf (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188920)

>>>I don't think coming up with some magical storage medium is the answer..

What about books filled with barcodes? Not very efficient for space, but it will still be readable ~5000 years from now and convertible back to databits/audio/video.

Re:This brings to my mind... how do you store stuf (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189046)

Sure, but it's useless in that format.

The idea behind having an archive is it can be browsed periodically. If you can't easily access the data, what is the point.

Re:This brings to my mind... how do you store stuf (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189654)

I thought the purpose of an archive was to backup text/audio/video so that if the primary source (DVD) turns to rust, some future ~4000 AD generation can go back to the book and scan it page-by-page to reconstruct it.

One of the tragic things about Greco-Roman culture is that almost all their music was lost. If someone had simply wrote it down on paper, we'd still have the yellowed sheets to reconstruct the songs, but nobody ever bothered. The same will happen to our culture if we fail to convert our audio/video into a permanent format. Like books with barcodes.

Archive.org (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187426)

We have archive.org .. but it's not great.

Not saying I could do any better, it's a pretty damn hard problem, and I think resources are a big issue for them.

And a lot of it isn't there fault. One big problem I see is a _lot_ of really good content is behind registration walls. Massive forums packed with loads of useful information vanishes.. and services like archive.org (and search engines) can't get at it.

I think a big issue comes with who gets to decide if you can keep data around. Archive.org will retroactively (or last I checked they did this) disable access to a domains snapshots if there is a robots.txt file on the live site restricting access. This makes sense in theory, letting a site owner prevent access to data retroactively, however it causes problems when the domain dies and an ad page gets put up (or someone else buys the domain and actually puts up a legitimate site).

For example when jumpedtheshark got bought... the new owners put a robots.txt file (and eliminated all old content from their site) preventing anyone from accessing the vast amount of user provided content.

And then there is the issue of a site who actually did want to block their own content for whatever reason. When the site goes down, so does the robots.txt file, and all the old content becomes accessible again!

Archaeology (3, Funny)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187432)

valuable evidence from the interweb's early days

What, you mean high contrast animated gif backgrounds on barely-visible text?

It's like an Archaeologist is having a conversation with a layman:
Archaeologist: You see this dirt?
Layman: Yep, that's nice dirt, what's so special about it?
Archaeologist: This dirt is FOUR BILLION years old!
Layman: Wow, that's pretty old! So how does that make it different than this dirt I'm standing on?
Archaeologist: Well, for one, if you were to grow marijuana with it, you'd be smoking some ancient shit, man.
Layman: *just stares*
Archaeologist: Seriously, it's OLD!
Layman: I'm sure.


Hmm. I think I need my morning coffee.

Re:Archaeology (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187758)

"Evidence" is the wrong word. "History" is more like it. I remember when friend in college showed me the Web for the first time, back when all I was doing was news groups and Netrek. Back when there were probably only 15-20 HTML tags and most pages defaulted to that horrible gray background, with blue unvisited and purple visited links. It's still fun for me to run across old web pages and appreciate how far web development has come.

Re:Archaeology (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187840)

Agreed. But I still think "web archaeology" is like growing marijuana with 4 billion year old dirt. You don't really have to do it. It's not something that is scientifically important. But it might be fun, for some.

Re:Archaeology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34188452)

Just like Space Nuttery.

Re:Archaeology (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34189078)

Here you go. True this isn't the start of the web, but it's close enough. The web didn't change that much between the first PC client (AmigaMosaic in 1993) and the 1996 start of the Waybackmachine:

Sci-Fi Channel http://web.archive.org/web/19961114151757/http://scifi.com/ [archive.org]
Netscape - http://web.archive.org/web/19961020015116/http://www3.netscape.com/ [archive.org]

Re:Archaeology (1)

froggymana (1896008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34191666)

or perhaps a 4 billion year old wake and bake...

Digiboard predated the Internet Archive's Wayback (4, Informative)

Rick Richardson (87058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187482)

Digiboard, Inc. website (http://www.dgii.com) predated the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.  When I started the website, only ~200 sites existed.

Re:Digiboard predated the Internet Archive's Wayba (1)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188478)

That should be Yahoo's Cool Site of the Day.

Re:Digiboard predated the Internet Archive's Wayba (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34191242)

Even then there existed something called copyright. So do they have explicit permission, because if no explicit exceptions are given, copyright is implied. The words copyright and the sign and year are a nice extra and make it easier to proof, but not needed.

finds? (2, Funny)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187484)

Smithsonian Digital Archeology Museum exhibits: Hello My Future Girlfriend Mahir All Your Base Supergreg

Re:finds? (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187576)

Why didn't the Smithsonian buy up GeoCities from Yahoo when they decided to dump it? Remember the scramble to keep fragments of it?

Smells a bit like a crackpot. (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187500)


FTA: "In five years' time or so, I doubt websites will exist and I expect the vast majority of sites from the first twenty years of the web to be gone forever," says Jim Boulton, curator of Digital Archaeology.

Websites won't exist in 5 years? What will be be using, direct neural interfaces?

Re:Smells a bit like a crackpot. (2, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187552)

Apple app that look and feels like websites with a back-end cloud hosting content. Think AOL hell all over again. It' where the old become the new.

Ya ya, flamebait and all that... Someones gotta throw chum in the water from time to time. :)

Awesome exhibit! (2, Funny)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187506)

I can't wait to visit the "punch the monkey and win!" exhibit.

I'm sceptical (1)

spamuell (1208984) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187600)

"Uber-trendy" is about right. The only reason a digital project like this requires a physical exhibition is so the people conducting it have somewhere to stare at their own moustaches growing in each other's 20-inch square glasses.

FTFA: Many of the now-defunct sites will no longer run on modern hardware, so the exhibition's organisers have assembled a veritable PC junkyard of old kit so you can make like it's 1996 again.

Puh-lease.

Re:I'm sceptical (2, Funny)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187860)

Haha, seriously? What's wrong with a VM running an old OS+browser combo. Are the spinning, flaming skull gifs animating too quickly on modern hardware?

Library? (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187622)

Oh good more stuff stored in a 'library' no one except researchers will look at.

Stop Digging! We buried them for a reason! (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187670)

Let the blink tags and "Under Construction" GIF files stay buried!

robots.txt (1)

havardi (122062) | more than 3 years ago | (#34187732)

Did apple recently put up a robots.txt to block all robots including the internet archiver?
http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://apple.com [archive.org]
It would be sad to miss out on their logos in the future.

Re:robots.txt (1)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 3 years ago | (#34191304)

Here is the contents of Apple's robots.txt file:
# robots.txt for http://www.apple.com/ [apple.com]
User-agent: *
Disallow:

That means every robot is allowed to traverse the site. I checked the HTML code for the index of apple.com, which allows for less fine grained robots control, and there is no meta tag to disallow indexing, and the HTTP headers have nothing also.

It is possible that Apple gives different info, or blocks entirely, to the IA robot user agent or IP addresses.

you Fail It? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34187782)

Do8't walk around our ability to

Geocities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34187866)

The archive will be filled with lots of Geocities pages hosting shrines to random anime characters

Without B1FF, it's crap! (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188230)

If they don't do justice to B1FF, then why bother? :(

Geocities (1)

teachknowlegy (1003477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188818)

Geocities, banner ads and popups. Nothing to see here folks. Want some real content? Look at the old BBS network! ASCII graphics at 300bps R KEWL!

Internet Meme's (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34188880)

Does this also mean they are going to scour around the early days of /b/? That is a little scary

The "Interweb" is a real thing now? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34189482)

When did Interweb become a non-sarcastic word?

I was surprised when I clicked the link and saw that the original article actually used "Interweb" as a serious word, but then I did a quick search and found that there are lots of actual companies that call themselves "Interweb something": Interweb Designs, Interweb Solutions, etc.

What's next? Luser Ltd.? AOHELLpdesk.com? n00btech Inc.?

Let us all mourn the death of satire.

Re:The "Interweb" is a real thing now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34191716)

ever since 4chan has takenz over teh werldz!!!!one!!!eleven!!!111

Failure is an option (1)

iinlane (948356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34190118)

They'll probably quit after they dig up goatse.cx.

Not related to show "LOST" (1)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34190224)

At first, I got really excited because I thought there was a TV show about digital archaeology that was revealing new information about the ABC show 'Lost', through interconnected web sites. 'Lost' used "args" (alternate reality games) via hidden web sites, to keep up fan interest between seasons.

Then I realized I must still be too addicted to 'Lost' even though it's now off the air. I should find something else to do. :-)

"Lost"? (1)

charlieo88 (658362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34190462)

Damn! I thought I was going to finally find out why they were on the island.

Why didn't they just Google it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34190592)

Digital Archaeology Show Reveals 'Lost' Web Sites

Yeah, they're [losttvshow.org] not [go.com] hard [about.com] to [tv.com] find [wikia.com] ...

Shoreditch is *not* uber-trendy (2, Informative)

Tomsk70 (984457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34190626)

Spoken as someone that worked in Whitechapel for ten years, it's somewhere you move away from, not to. Trust me on this, the only people that think it's trendy to live somewhere like that are journalists

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34190722)

Attention, all honor students will be rewarded with a trip to an archeological dig.

Conversely, all detention students will be punished with a trip to an archeological dig.

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