Presentation by Jason Scott of Archive Team at Digital Preservation 2013 held in Alexandria, VA.
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Most of us think nothing of putting our lives in the cloud; photos in Flickr, videos on YouTube, most everything on Facebook. But what about when those services abruptly go away, taking all of our collective contributions with them? Well Jason Scott operates on the assumption that everything online will one day disappear. He explains to Bob why he and the Archive Team are dedicated to saving user-generated content for posterity.
GUESTS: Jason Scott
HOSTED BY: Bob Garfield
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.
On tonight’s show, Dickturnip doesn’t get spit on by a Llama, Peann takes a photo of Jupiter and we talk to technology historian and documentary creator, Jason Scott.
Our evening with Jason Scott last Wednesday was possibly the most entertaining archives talk ever in the world. No really. It really was. Jason is passionate and committed to his work and deadly serious about its importance but he is also seriously funny. Enjoy.
This is a collection of Geocities data downloaded by a bunch of people who call themselves ARCHIVE TEAM, who began scraping the Yahoo! Geocities site during a six month period in 2009, before Yahoo! shut down geocities.com on October 26th, 2009.
At the time of the purchase, Geocities was the THIRD most popular website on the Internet. Even by the time of its shutdown, it was in the top 250. We don’t have complete rock-solid knowledge of why it was shut down, but all signs point to Yahoo! trying to get back to basics (like, uh, having a huge audience?) and Geocities magically didn’t fall into this new "focus", and lacked any internal cheerleader to make it last through meetings.
Yahoo! succeeded in destroying the most amount of history in the shortest amount of time, certainly on purpose, in known memory. Millions of files, user accounts, all gone.
Archivist, technology historian, and filmmaker Jason Scott talks to Nora Young about online video, digital heritage, and how the internet isn’t as permanent as we might think.
About two weeks ago, I got an email from Google:
On April 29, 2011, videos that have been uploaded to Google Video will no longer be available for playback. We’ve added a Download button to the video status page, so you can download any video content you want to save. If you don’t want to download your content, you don’t need to do anything. (The Download feature will be disabled after May 13, 2011.)
So, basically… “unless you take action, all your videos will be deleted.” But then, a week later, Google changed its tune. In my inbox:
Google Video users can rest assured that they won’t be losing any of their content and we are eliminating the April 29 deadline. We will be working to automatically migrate your Google Videos to YouTube. In the meantime, your videos hosted on Google Video will remain accessible on the web and existing links to Google Videos will remain accessible.
This Google Video example is just one of many recent stories that suggest the web isn’t as permanent as we’re often led to believe. This past March, Yahoo Video removed all user-generated uploads from its site. When Cisco announced its plans to shut down its Flip Video business, it also announced that its companion FlipShare video sharing service “will no longer be supported past 12/31/2013.”
For his perspective on online video and digital heritage, Nora interviewed Jason Scott. Jason’s an archivist, technology historian, and filmmaker.
Jason Scott’s talk at the Personal Digital Conference, 2011.