Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sorry for the late post, I accidentally fell asleep for a few hours...

Before I begin with my typical blogging, I don't have anyone to work with on the group project yet, so I'll use professor Chun's suggestion and try to use the blog to make friends. If anyone out there wants to work with me please email me ( I'd like to think I'm well qualified for the job and easy to work with. I'll also look through the blog to see if anyone has already posted searching for a third member for their group. 

One of the flaws of the “Way back Machine” as an archive for the internet mentioned was the fact that it exists on the internet itself. The “Way Back Machine” is stuck in the perpetual present of the internet. A number of problems arise from this. One of the best examples of this is the fact that a search on the 1996 version of yahoo yields today’s results. Some older versions of various sites on the “Way Back Machine” do not serve their purpose at all. The question is: how useful would any of these lost internet objects actually be? What purposes would the 1996 version of yahoo serve that today’s version of yahoo could not? The only particularly worthwhile use that I can think of is to use the older version to collect data about the history of the internet itself. What were the first pages to come up when certain words were searched? What companies and websites did yahoo advertise at the time? It seems to me that a lot of this data cold be collected through other means. I’m not denying that a working archive of past versions of the internet would be useful, but rather questioning if it is worth the effort it would require to create and all the speculation surrounding it. To “properly” archive yahoo all of the search results from 1996 would have to be recreated. It seems to me that this would probably be a very painstaking process, though I’m not entirely sure everything it would require, so I could be wrong (but if I am wrong why would such an archive not already exist?). Would search results from 1996 be worth such a great effort? Does the world need working versions of every failed internet startup from the mid nineties? I believe a lot of the proposed uses of an internet archive could be done in other ways. A lot of the information that would be contained in such and archive is available in articles and other sources from the time in which the archive exists. In fact, the idea of an internet archive somewhat detracts from the purpose of the internet. The internet must necessarily exist in a perpetual present, or it uses the majority of it’s usefulness. I couldn’t help but be reminded of a skit from Cartoon Network’s “Tim and Eric Awesome Show” called “The Innernette.” (,, ) “The Innernette” is a disk that provides all of the conveniences of being connected to the internet without actually being connected to it. A user of “The Innernette” chats with pre-programmed “people” and buys a pair of pants from “The Pants Zone.” To do this he must print out his order form and fax it to Innernette headquarters. An internet archive would be somewhat similar. To exist it would have to be separated from the actual internet and in doing so would lose much of its usefulness. I think the worth of a fully operational internet archive should be more closely analyzed before any further attempts to create such an archive.

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