Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/28/geocities_preservation/

Web 0.2 archivists save Geocities from deletion

Preserving history one hideous webpage at a time

By Austin Modine

Posted in Media, 28th April 2009 23:08 GMT

A group of web preservationists called the Archive Team is trying to save most of Geocities for the ages before Yahoo! erases the beloved old-school web-hosting service from the face of the internet.

In honor of the dearly departing web host, we'll continue in a more suitable format:

Welcome to my Geocities story!!!

  This news is under construction!   

Archive Team boss Jason Scott recently detailed on his blog about the team's newest project to download Geocities for posterity after Yahoo!'s announcement that it's pulling the plug on the web community "later this year."

The group's stated goal is to save websites or data that's in danger of being lost - and certainly Geocities is a resource worthy of preservation if there ever was one. Nearly two decades worth of blinking text, animated gifs, fanfiction, and broken links are at risk of disappearing with the blink of the eye. This is the personal internet young, raw and blemished - before big blogging services and social networking sites arrived to completely homogenize the space.

From Scott's webpage:

We've been downloading at an enormous rate, probably along the lines of a gigabyte a half-hour of Geocities, through all our different vectors.

Because we're talking literally millions of files with an average size of 1 to 30 kilobytes, it becomes harder and harder to get a "big picture" view of everything we've grabbed, but after 48 hours of work, Archive Team has saved over 200,000 Geocities sites. We're now pulling in new sites at the rate of something like 5 a second. Is that fast enough? We'll see, won't we.



Scott wrote that the team believes that it's sucked up nearly every site on Geocities from 1999 and before - at least those that still exist. Unfortunately, the Archive Team found that Yahoo apparently quietly purged a lot of Geocities "neighborhoods" (subdomains like http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/) completely, including WallStreet and NorthPole. Poor Santa probably never knew what hit him.

Thoroughly archiving Geocities is the team's current priority, Scott wrote. Making the data available takes a back seat.

"People who have been talking about copyright and stuff seem to think I'm going to sell it or take credit or some crap," Scott wrote. He added that there's no plans on releasing the data, but he'll "make sure people can get it, somehow."

Check out the Archive Team here, or even offer some help on their noble project. ®

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