Failed cloud/community sites

18 Aug

One of the scenarios in the original Blue Ribbon report was for “community-contributed content”. We were aware that some sites had failed, with Geocities being an obvious example. Today I set out to find out a little more about what was going on. It didn’t take long to convince me that this problem is MUCH worse than I thought. Geocities is the tip of an ENORMOUS iceberg.

This Computerworld article is not a bad place to start:  http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9218979/When_a_cloud_service_vanishes_How_to_protect_your_data

For sheer scale, see the Archive Team’s Deathwatch:  http://www.archiveteam.org/index.php?title=Deathwatch

By the way, I love their self-description from their main page (linked from above):

“HISTORY IS OUR FUTURE

“And we’ve been trashing our history

“Archive Team is a loose collectives of rogue archivists, programmers, writers and loudmouths dedicated to saving our digital heritage. Since 2009 this variant force of nature has caught wind of shutdowns, shutoffs, mergers, and plain old deletions – and done our best to save the history before it’s lost forever. Along the way, we’ve gotten attention, resistance, press and discussion, but most importantly, we’ve gotten the message out: IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.

“This website is intended to be an offloading point and information depot for a number of archiving projects, all related to saving websites or data that is in danger of being lost. Besides serving as a hub for team-based pulling down and mirroring of data, this site will provide advice on managing your own data and rescuing it from the brink of destruction.”

See also TechCrunch’s DeadPool, which gives a bit more background information on some of these closures:  http://techcrunch.com/tag/deadpool/

It suddenly seems a bit presumptuous to talk about sustainability in the face of this carnage, without understanding some of these failures a bit better! Actually, I also feel I ought to sign up the the Archive Team. And so should some of you!

[This is my second post with MARSedit, and I’m a bit concerned at the line spacing in Preview. I’ll suck it and see.]

[UPDATE: all the paragraphs were in div tags, and behaviour was odd. I’ve changed them all to p tags and it looks a bit better. Not happy with MARSedit now :-(]

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