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Is this forum securely archived?

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My interest in raising this topic is not an attempt to cast doubt on the integrity or competence of the proprietors / managers of this forum. They are to be complemented for taking the forum thus far and keeping it running each day.

However, it does seem to me this forum is an important historical resource. Once published on the forum, material is effectively in the public domain. It's important, IMO, that the public retains permanent access to it. I think it likely that various flavours of spooks around the world have their own copies. We need to make sure our interests are protected too.

By its nature, this forum is potentially vulnerable. Material is published here that may well get up the nose of a variety of powerful interests around the world.

A robust system of backups, existing of backups and distributed access to them is therefore desirable, IMO - even more so than in the case of a forum about less controversial topics. I'm not confident at present that it exists.

Some time ago I emailed John Simkin and expressed some of these concerns. He emailed back that he had checked with Andy Walker, who assured him that iphost.com backs up the site daily.

I have no doubt that's right... but it does not really get to the heart of my concerns.

IMO, one needs to ask 'what if' questions and have each one of them covered.

What if... (heaven forbid) Andy gets run over by a London bus?

What if... iphost.com goes out of business overnight?

What if... when needed, the back-up file is corrupted and does not serve to restore the site?

I'm sure that's not a full list of all the possible disasters.

Perhaps, with John and Andy's agreement, a small team of forum members, each with a modicum of computer savvy, could produce recommendations about this?

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Good post, Sid. I second the motion and further move that an outstanding Webmaster like Sid be allowed to hardwire into this baby........it couldn't hurt, could it?

Thanks Daniel.

I think however that when you describe me as an outstanding webmaster, you are either poorly informed or taking the mickey.

I'm sure on this forum there are some real computer experts. I can provide an amateur's input, that's all. A few wise heads would be best...

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Sid, I can only say that if there is information you consider very important, then save the webpage to your own PC.

When all my rebuttals to Jack's Aulis claims disappeared, I had to recreate the whole thing. I found some bit archived by Google, and some people had saved some webpages to their own PCs, but it took a lot of repeated effort.

This time, they are all saved on my PC.

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As long as it does not involve me in any extra work I am all in favour of the Forum being archived by members. I thought Google also archived the Forum?

Google may well archive the forum. However, I don't know how one might access Google archives. In addition, until quite recently it seemed many pages weren't spidered by Google and were probably absent from Google's database. Andy fixed the spidering, but it's not obvious to me at any rate how many pages may have been missed by Google.

The only publicly-available internet archive I know about is the 'Wayback Machine'.

This is Wayback's entry for the Education Forum: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://educat...um.ipbhost.com/

It does provide some kind of backup. People can make their own judgment about whether it's sufficient.

The Wayback Machine has been a feature on the web for some time, and may prove to be a permanent free service, but who can guarantee that? IMO, relying on Wayback is a risky strategy.

Crucially, while some - possibly most - past content could be retrieved from external archives, it wouldn't be possible to restore the forum as a functioning entity from pages archived by Wayback or Google.

I feel I've taken this issue as far as it's appropriate. I don't want to be a nuisance. My only concern is only to ensure continuity of what is, I believe, a fine forum and a valuable historical resource.

Andy manages the technical side of the forum and is clearly doing a fine job. Downtime is minimal.

However, responsibility that isn't shared can be burdensome. If I was in Andy's shoes, I'd want a few copies of the forum database distributed around the world, from time to time. Just in case...

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I don't think Google archives anything it just indexes pages and even then if you check each day you will often find that the number of pages they have for a particular site fluctuates according to their algorithm and pages that are in Google one time might not appear the next....Google is always changing the algorithm to try and keep ahead of all the webmasters trying all the tricks to get higher in the rankings for their keyword...Otherwise all the spam and made for Adsense sites would get to the top and it would be impossible to find anything...All that means it is unwise to reply on any Google index as a complete record of all thats on the site....I'm not sure how ipbhost works in the backend but there must be some way to get hold of a periodic database dump archive of the site through the control panel I would have thought ?

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