Opinion: About how we preserve online information
Web publishing is a highlight of the democratic process in the 21st Century. All sorts of people and groups have a voice. The trick of course is then getting anyone to notice.
However the greater concern is that with this super abundance of information out there to be read, how much of it can and should be archived. I’m not a heritage freak that believes in heritage of everything and anything. Things change and some things have their day and we move on.
But as many journalists and writers have found out, sometimes other forces can hijack your information or even take it down and make it disappear. This blog exists on someone else’s server, located somewhere I do not know, and I have to work to that server to update my blog.
By using WordPress for this blog, I have no copy of my work here on my local computer, unless I go online regularly and download the copy back to my computer. This I do (and then back it up again).
With HTML web pages (as run under Dreamweaver), you work on a local version first and then upload it, so you always have a local copy. So if the server crashes or whatever, you have your local copies (and their back up).
More and more people now work through online forums and blogs, such as WordPress, which means that have easy access from any computer but their work is dependent on the server functioning. Someone else controls that server.
The archiving of all the online conversations and articles is a huge task. In Australia the National Library has a major program to archive web sites.
There’s an interesting article online about this whole issue – click here.
This digital age is wonderful but not without a major fault that could see it all come crashing down at any moment.
It is time for a coffee and not to think about this for too long.
Paul Costigan, 19 April 2014