Yarchives: a Multi-Topic Repository of Information

October 5, 2021

Here is a useful resource, a repository of Usenet newsgroup articles collected and maintained by computer scientist Norman Yarvin. The Yarchive houses articles on twenty-two wide-ranging topics, from air conditioning to jokes to space. We note a couple that might be of interest to today’s assorted revolutionaries (or those tasked with countering them): explosives and nuclear technologies. Hmm. Perhaps there is a need to balance unfettered access to information with wisdom. The site’s About page reveals some details about Yarvin’s curation process. He writes:

“Articles are not put up here immediately; only a year or three after first saving them do I look at them again, sort them out, and make index pages for them. (By that time I’ve forgotten enough of them to make them worth rereading — and if I find they are not worth rereading, I discard them.) I’ve largely automated the making of index pages; the programs I’ve written for it (mostly in Perl) are available as a tar file (tools.tar). The making of the links to search for Google’s copy of each article is also automated. If it stops working because Google changed their query syntax, please let me know. Links that are on the Message-ID line of the header should link straight to the article in question; other links (from articles I’ve lost the Message-ID for) should invoke a search. For articles from the linux-kernel mailing list, links that are on the Original-Message-ID line of the header are to kernel.org’s copy of the article. (They used to be to GMANE, but that service went away.) Some changes have been made to these articles, but nothing that would destroy any possible meaning.”

The project seems to be quite the hobby for Yarvin. He goes on to describe the light corrections he makes, articles’ conversion to the UTF-8 character encoding, and his detailed process of checking the worthiness of URLs and making the valuable ones clickable.

Readers may want to peruse the Yarchive and/or bookmark it for future use. Information relevant to many of our readers can be found here, like files on computers, electronics, and security. More generally useful topics are also represented; cars, food, and houses, for example. Then there are the more specialized topics, like bicycles, chemistry, and metalworking. There is something here for everyone, it seems.

Cynthia Murrell, October 5, 2021


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