Sunday, October 25, 2009

Geocities to be archived

Scott and his Archive Team are working to rescue GeoCities by downloading as much of its content as possible — which they estimate to be around ten terabytes. These historians recognize GeoCities as having played a critical role in the development of the Internet.

Neat! HT to James Robertson.

By the way, this bit of history is news to me:
...GeoCities' free hosting space became the home for thousands of sites built around thematically oriented "neighborhoods": conservation, fashion, military, sports, finance, travel, and more.

I had no idea about GeoCities' effort to try and organize these sites into neighborhoods. That interesting idea certainly didn't work out. The way things have gone has stuck with the way the WWW was originally envisioned: structure is induced by the links. Locales are simply cliques of sites that heavily interlink with each other, much like fields of knowledge are induced by authors who read each other and heavily refer to each other. There is a place for making that structure explicit, but it's already well enough handled by giant clearing-house blogs that try to link to every relevant site in an area. There's nothing much left for the self-slotted neighborhoods idea to help.

Again, kudos to the Archive Team for archiving Geocities. Researchers will have a good time in the future looking at these early web sites.

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