I can see how people start to become more resistant to change. When you’ve got lots of legacy stuff to unpick it can be a lot of effort to do things any differently.
But all that experience is incredibly valuable. It just needs a bit of curation every now a then. A lot when you make a big change. You get to a point where it just isn’t possible to start from scratch, you just have to unpick things a bit and keep on building.
Really enjoyed this reflection Oliver. I must admit that I was a bit latter to things than you, but I still care about my digital archive even if I do not ‘blog’ as much as I used to. One of my biggest frustrations with my archive is that I didn’t start earlier. I really rue not having a digital copy of my Honours thesis. Fine I have a scanned copy, but it is not the same.
The cliché is that once something goes online, it’s up there forever. But the truth is that the Internet has a memory problem and some of what we’re losing – or could potentially lose – has significance and value. While archivists struggle with the challenge of preserving our digital record, the rise of pay walls present a particular problem.
Anthony, this is an intriguing topic. I was listening to Audrey Watters’ speak recently on digging through unsent letters that are held in archives. I imagine these days we would delete these or they would be far from public, let alone archived for future prosperity.
ArchiveBox is a powerful, self-hosted internet archiving solution to collect, save, and view sites you want to preserve offline.
You can set it up as a command-line tool, web app, and desktop app (alpha), on Linux, macOS, and Windows.
You can feed it URLs one at a time, or schedule regular imports from browser bookmarks or history, feeds like RSS, bookmark services like Pocket/Pinboard, and more. See input formats for a full list.
It saves snapshots of the URLs you feed it in several formats: HTML, PDF, PNG screenshots, WARC, and more out-of-the-box, with a wide variety of content extracted and preserved automatically (article text, audio/video, git repos, etc.). See output formats for a full list.
The goal is to sleep soundly knowing the part of the internet you care about will be automatically preserved in durable, easily accessable formats for decades after it goes down.
But will these drives be easily retrievable in 30 years? Or will we be searching for an equivalent to a tape cassette recorder, or an 8-track player, to somehow get our data back? Or, how easy will it be for others to access this data as we share more and more of it in the cloud?
Beyond the fear of others getting access, will we even want this data? When was the last time you looked at a backup file or drive that has data you no longer have on your computer or phone?
We have become digital hoarders, all of us. What implications does this have for us, or more specifically, for our future selves?
In the age of the 4K smart TV, audio-visual companies are looking forward to ever-greater digital innovations. Few are looking back at the cavalcade of tape formats that came before, which never had the same desirable aesthetic that made film so enduringly popular.
Mr Ficker says it is “very unlikely” that archives around the world could raise the capital to have tape machines manufactured again, even if they worked together.
But he said he “hadn’t written it off”, because “if that’s what it takes, will then we will be pursuing those strategies”.
He also suggests future digital innovations might make it possible to read the data off magnetic tapes in a different way, using software to reconstruct the images.
James Elton discusses the demise of tape machines and the memories kept on them. Lauren Young also provides an interesting take on magnetic tape. This reminds me of Celia Coffa’s keynote at Digicon15 Digital Stories and Future Memories.
This makes me wonder about the fragility of archiving, especially after reading Damon Krukowski’s recent reflections associated with MySpace. What happens when someone finds something like a zipdisk in 500 years time? Let alone in 50 years time.
This week the Berkman Center at Harvard announced they will be closing their blogging platform, the first of its kind that has been around since 2003. While rumors of bloggings death are perhaps greatly exaggerated, Jim and Tim chat about the historical precedence for institutional platforms like WordPress multisite, their role in the greater landscape of digital identity and web publishing, and how that has changed over time.
Tim Owens and Jim Groom reflect on the recent closure of the academic blogs out of Harvard. They also discuss the current state of blogging and the challenges associated with archiving.
Archiving and digital legacy [ought] to be in the air.
The bava has been at it; Jim has been cleaning up his pile pf past webs, like an abandoned Known and the OpenVA web site. He’s been writing about Archiving his Digital Past and the concept of an Archive of One’s Own.
I’ve been harping s…
Alan Levine unpacks the steps associated with using Site Sucker (on Mac) to download a static version of a WordPress site to then be uploaded for archiving.