The Internet Lives

While the Internet, with all its information, is constantly changing with updates and new information, what is great to know is that it is being preserved and archived, so present and future generations can “travel back” and see what it looked liked at earlier points in time and have access to the wealth of information contained in it.
This is what the Internet Archive does–this non-profit organization functions as the Library of the Internet. It is building a “permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.”

In the Internet Archive you will find “texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages” going back to 1996 until today.

I tested the Archive’s Wayback Machine with my site The Total CIO and was able to see how it looked like back on October 24, 2010.

It is wonderful to see our digital records being preserved by the Internet Archive, just like our paper records are preserved in archives such as The Library of Congress, which is considered “the world’s most comprehensive record of human creativity and knowledge”), The National Archives, which preserves government and historical records, and The National Security Archive, a research institute and library at The George Washington University that “collects and publishes declassified documents through the Freedom of Information Act…[on] topics pertaining to national security, foreign, intelligence, and economic policies of the United States.”

The Internet Archive is located in San Francisco (and my understanding is that there is a backup site in Egypt).

The Internet Archive is created using spider programs that crawl the publicly available pages of the Internet and then copy and store data, which is indexed 3 dimensionally to allow browsing over multiple periods of times.

The Archive now contains roughly 2 petabytes of information, and is growing by 20 terabytes per month. According to The Archive, the data is stored on hundreds (by my count it should be about 2,000) of slightly modified x86 machines running on Linux O/S with each storing approximately a terabyte of data.

According to the FAQs, it does take some time for web pages to show up–somewhere between 6 months and 2 years, because of the process to index and transfer to long-term storage, and hopefully the process will get faster, but in my opinion, having an organized collection and archiving of the Internet is well worth the wait.

Ultimately, the Internet Archive may someday be (or be part of) the Time Capsule of human knowledge and experience that helps us survive human or natural disaster by providing the means to reconstitute the human race itself.

(Source Photo: here)

>The Twitter Miracle



Twitter is a crazy thing–little blue birdie…tweet, tweet, tweet.

Why do we even do it (tweet)?

Here are the “4 Stages of Getting Twitter” (Credit: Andfaraway):
  • Stage 1–It starts with utmost skepticism and even denigrating the tool (e.g. it’s stupid, dumb, a time-waster…)
  • Stage 2–Then it moves to well why don’t I just try it and see what all the commotion is all about–maybe I’ll like it?
  • Stage 3–As the interaction with others (RT’s, @’s and messages) start to flow, you have the ah ha moment–I can communicate with just about anyone, globally!
  • Stage 4–I like this (can anyone say addiction!). I can share, collaborate, influence–way beyond my traditional boundaries. This is amazing–this is almost miraculous.
Here are some other things I like about Twitter:

1) Like a journal, it’s a way to capture your thoughts, experiences, feelings, likes/dislikes. (One thing I don’t like about Twitter is there is no good way that I know of to archive or print them–I hope they fix this, please).

2) Another thing about Twitter (and Blogger and Wikipedia for that matter)…I imagine sometimes that this is an incredible social time capsule (i.e. knowledge repository) that we are putting together (almost unknowingly) that will carry humankind forward past any future natural or man-made disasters. Years ago, people would bury a few mementos in a treasure chest or something, as a time capsule, and what a find this would be for people years later when they would open it up and learn firsthand what life was like “those days.” Now, imagine the treasure trove of the exabytes of information contributed to by hundreds of millions people from around the world. What is also fascinating to me is that people contribute enormous amounts of their time and energy and all for free–hey, this is even less than what Amazon’s Mechanical Turks could do this for! 🙂

Clearly, people want to express themselves and connect with others–and social media gives ever new meaning to this beyond physical space and time.