Thursday, April 3, 2008

Archiving on the Internet

Using the internet as an archiving tool is obviously a very precarious thing to do, considering how often pages change: their design, layout, constant updating of information, etc. But then it's interesting how often people do use the internet as an archiving tool. Look at the proliferation of online journals. Before they became blogs and publicity tools, they were intended to be just journals that one's friends could read. About everyday life. After all, isn't that what a journal is? An archive? A record of everyday life and feelings. And then there are the photo albums. They can be used to share and connect with friends but also, they are a form of backup. If the hard drive on your computer crashes, at least you'll still have the photos that were hosted up on photobucket or Flickr. And then there's the fact that we can basically save anything there is on the internet with a simple “File-->Save Page As”.

It's interesting to note though that although we use the internet as an archive, we are also very aware of how quickly things change on the web. For example, there are thousands of journals on livejournal. Thousands of people record their thoughts and feelings and everyday actions. And if the livejournal server crashes and all the data were lost, these people would probably be devastated. To prevent such a disaster though, one is able to download a program called ljarchive. Basically it archives your archive. Even the fact that we can save so much that's on the internet proves how unreliable it is because we are always afraid of it failing. But I guess we do it just to share and connect with people in the simplest way...where there is (technically) no pressure and no time constraints and no need for physical presence. It does show though how the internet is both used as an archive and archived.

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