The Demise of Geocities – But a Renewed Interest in Web Site Archeology

An article published today on the Guardian Technology Web site entitled “Geocities: dead but not lost” describes how Geocities, which was founded in 1994 and was at one stage the third most-browsed site on the web, is now dead.

Geocities pageWe discussed Yahoo’s announcement that the Geocities service was to be shut down some time ago in a post entitled ““Seething With Anger” at the Demise of Geocities“. What I find interesting in the article is the information that “… there’s the real effort, by the Archive Team, who have been trying to archive as many Geocities pages and sites as they could“.

I’d not come across the Archive Team wiki before. They describe themselves as a “project composed of volunteers, currently coordinated by Jason Scott” which invites.

  • Writers, who can create clear essays and instructions for archivists and concerned parties.
  • People with Lots of Hosted Disk Space who have a proper hosted webserver and fat pipe, who are willing (when asked) to consider hosting mirrored dead sites or archives.
  • People who love setting up torrents who can do the same as the mirror folks, but do so hosting torrents.
  • OCD-rich individuals who want to download things who will respond to our alerts and call outs and download entire sites or diagnose ways to get at obfuscated data.

The wiki home page informs us that “This website is intended to be an offloading point and information depot for a number of archiving projects, all related to saving websites or data that is in danger of being lost. Besides serving as a hub for team-based pulling down and mirroring of data, this site will provide advice on managing your own data and rescuing it from the brink of destruction.”

Hmm. I wonder how effective a volunteer organisation is likely to me? My initial thoughts were fairly sceptical, but other volunteer-led initiatives, such as Wikipedia, do seem to be successful. What are your thoughts?

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