For over 20 years the web has provided continuous deluge of cultural production. Digital artifacts such as websites, images, and videos have much to communicate about our social and cultural evolution, and yet their messages or moments can be fleeting or quickly lost. Both the accessibility and longevity of digital content are subject to a wide range of risks, from technological obsolescence to outright deletion by their creator or host. So what is being done to preserve these cultural objects for the long term? Approaching web content from a cultural and artistic perspective, this panel will convene leading writers, archivists, thinkers and technologists to discuss to the questions, challenges, and imperatives involving preserving the creative culture of the web. We’ll cover topics like "what is the long-term significance of a website, and why would it be worth preserving?", "should web sites and artifacts be treated like works of art or architecture?", and "how do we go about archiving digital content to ensure its accessibility and longevity?". Example initiatives to be discussed will be the Archive Team’s various projects (such as the Geocities torrent), the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, Internet Archeology, and the Rhizome ArtBase. This panel will be presented by Rhizome, an organization dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology.
Tagged with “archive” (2)
Universal access to all knowledge, Kahle declared, will be one of humanity’s greatest achievements. We are already well on the way. "We’re building the Library of Alexandria, version 2. We can one-up the Greeks!"
Start with what the ancient library had—-books. The Internet Library already has 3 million books digitized. With its Scribe Book Scanner robots—-29 of them around the world—-they’re churning out a thousand books a day digitized into every handy ebook format, including robot-audio for the blind and dyslexic. Even modern heavily copyrighted books are being made available for free as lending-library ebooks you can borrow from physical libraries—-100,000 such books so far. (Kahle announced that every citizen of California is now eligible to borrow online from the Oakland Library’s "ePort.")
As for music, Kahle noted that the 2-3 million records ever made are intensely litigated, so the Internet Archive offered music makers free unlimited storage of their works forever, and the music poured in. The Archive audio collection has 100,000 concerts so far (including all the Grateful Dead) and a million recordings, with three new bands every day uploading.
Moving images. The 150,000 commercial movies ever made are tightly controlled, but 2 million other films are readily available and fascinating—-600,000 of them are accessible in the Archive already. In the year 2000, without asking anyone’s permission, the Internet Archive started recording 20 channels of TV all day, every day. When 9/11 happened, they were able to assemble an online archive of TV news coverage all that week from around the world ("TV comes with a point of view!") and make it available just a month after the event on Oct. 11, 2001.
The Web itself. When the Internet Archive began in 1996, there were just 30 million web pages. Now the Wayback Machine copies every page of every website every two months and makes them time-searchable from its 6-petabyte database of 150 billion pages. It has 500,000 users a day making 6,000 queries a second.
"What is the Library of Alexandria most famous for?" Kahle asked. "For burning! It’s all gone!" To maintain digital archives, they have to be used and loved, with every byte migrated forward into new media evey five years. For backup, the whole Internet Archive is mirrored at the new Bibliotheca Alexadrina in Egypt and in Amsterdam. ("So our earthquake zone archive is backed up in the turbulent Mideast and a flood zone. I won’t sleep well until there are five or six backup sites.")
Speaking of institutional longevity, Kahle noted during the Q & A that nonprofits demonstrably live much longer than businesses. It might be it’s because they have softer edges, he surmised, or that they’re free of the grow-or-die demands of commercial competition. Whatever the cause, they are proliferating.