Ghost Sites of the Web

Web 1.0 history, forgotten web celebrities, old web sites, commentary, and news by Steve Baldwin. Published erratically since 1996.

November 25, 2003

"No Way to Run a Culture"

Officialdom is regarding the phenomenona of disappearing Web pages with increased seriousness. Take this recent article from the Washington Post, which dwells at length on the problem afflicting scientific writers who footnote their research with URLs. Often, by the time the article is published, all of the source material disappears, making verification of one's findings difficult or impossible. See:

This article makes clear the need for researchers, writers, and historians to take account of the fact that Web sites disappear. It doesn't provide a remedy, but there is one - an easy one

Frankly, I find it surprising that backing up source material - rather than citing URLS that live on the Web, isn't yet standard practice with most people doing science.

Caching one's research material in .html is very efficient. Most projects could probably be documented in 100K to 500K of .html documents. It's as easy as "SAVE AS". While this is not a perfect solution, it eases the pain of being confronted with dead URL footnotes that were not cached by search engines or the Internet Archive.


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