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John Simkin

UK Web Archiving Consortium

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There is currently no legislation obliging people to submit copies of websites to legal deposit libraries. Six organizations (British Library, National Libraries of Wales and Scotland, the National Archive, the Wellcome Trust and the Joint Information Systems Committee) have established the UK Web Archiving Consortium. The objective is to store about 6,000 websites for posterity. Mark Middleton, who is managing the project, claims: "We will be identifying sites that have political, scientific, social or artistic interest for the nation and for future generations."

http://213.86.178.51/

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I agree that the Internet Wayback machine does a great job of archiving the Web. One of its advantages is that it's possible to see "snapshots" of a website - including my own, I may add - over time, at different stages of its development.

The UK archiving initiative sounds typically well-intentioned and worthy, a work of centralised leadership by committee, supported and developed by a string of august institutions with lofty opinions about what is and isn't worth preserving for posterity. Personally, I prefer the Wayback machine model: preserve everything in sight, the good, the bad and the ugly, and let ordinary people make up their own minds and exercise their own judgement. We have no idea what will be important to future generations when they look back into the past. It's wrong to second-guess them.

David Wilson

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/

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I have found the way back machine extremely useful when looking for archived web pages. They certainly are not restricted to just 6,000 selected pages either.

Great feature, but where are all the sites stored? <_<

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I like the Wayback Machine too. Websites have a habit of disappearing or moving, and it's handy to have such an archive site. I maintain around 1000 links at the ICT4LT site and over 300 at my personal website. Around 3%-5% of these links disappear or move each month. It's a phenomenon known as 'linkrot', and it's getting worse. Apparently, around 50% of links currently listed on the Web are dead. I can't remember where I read this figure, but the figure of 28.5% was quoted at the All Things Web site back in 1999:

http://www.pantos.org/atw/35654.html

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