Losing the Past Online

December 30, 2014

I read “WWWTXT: The Oldest Internet Archive.” The write up makes clear that archival online content is tough to find. I like the idea that online history is lost. The idea, one might say, is that lack of awareness of the past makes everything new again. Here’s a quote I noted:

(Rehn’s archive was acquired from the now-defunct Deja News, which was acquired by Google in 2001.) These days, the majority of new content he gets is from old BBS archives, either given to him, or found on old floppy disks.

When experts in search are clueless about early information retrieval systems, I thought it was a failure on the part of the expert. Now I see. Those folks have no past to which to refer. Hence, old stuff is innovative. Good to know.

Stephen E Arnold, December 30, 2014


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