Preserving Internet History: That’ll Be a BIG Museum


While searching for a new topic to write about, I stumbles upon an interesting bit on the historical relevance of the www. In this article (Which can be found here) it is described that there is some historical value in preserving website information and even past breakthroughs that many people have and are ready to call obsolete. But when we look at the internet today we don’t necessarily think about its history, impact, and where all these ideas for things like PayPal, social networking, chat, and online Banking began. Nor do we ever consider putting internet information in a museum (On the left is a map of the internet and it’s connections and you can see how vast it really is).

It’s incredible to think that the internet has only been around for about 2 decades, and yet so much of it is vanishing before our very eyes. Many say that once it’s on the internet it never goes away, and that is partly true, but the real problem is so much historical information is forgotten. An example being the very first website: no one knows what it was (but  Tim Berners-Lee, the man to invent the internet and the very first website), there was never a screenshot of what it looked like, no information on what it’s contents were, and now it’s lost forever in a sea of binary code either deleted by default when it became obsolete or sitting on the internet so archaic that it can’t be viewed anymore. In further digging I found that there are many websites (most can be found in the article mentioned) that are dedicated to preserving this kind of information including, images, writings, formatting and more. The question posed is why?

Tim Berners-Lee, The Man Who Beat Al Gore and Really Invented the Internet

The Library of Congress, which has always been dedicated to documenting written information, has taken an interest in keeping the digital age recorded. In a time when people are looking to the future they hope to bring back the past so we remember what got us there (and with the help of Goggle no less). Though one cannot help but ask if this kind of information is worth keeping, and if so…for what reason?


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