Where do all the blogs go?

I believe that we all have lots to say, and rather than the medium of formal writing and publishing, it is the blogs which are the new medium for expression. The usage of the English (or other) language remains a requirement for communication independent of the medium, and like all expressions there also remains differentiation between writers in terms of their capacity to use language to convey thoughts and ideas and to allow you, the reader, to build these thoughts and ideas within your own mind.

However, my experience at losing my Drupal site, with the complement of blogs which were there (not many, I will admit), exposes a critical issue of the memory of our generation – where do all the blogs go when they die? How do we recall the literary expressions of our age when these are all in the transient space of ever-restructured web sites in which the older writings are no longer current and are discarded?

The digital memory of our generation is at threat, and with it goes the vast majority of the writing being conducted. Will future generations only remember that which has been committed to paper publishing or will there be some way in which the entire digital memory of the human race can be recorded forever?

One of the approaches being used at present is the WayBack machine at www.archive.org. This provides a link back to older versions of web pages, taking snapshots around once per month. However, this is not sufficient to preserve the digital memory, since it is merely a dumb dump of everything it finds and it does not distinguish creative writing concerning fiction, news or opinions, from other corporate web sites.

I firmly believe that there is an urgent need for a facility to automate the archiving of literary digital writing so that as web sites are updated with new content (such as this blog) then this is moved to the archive site, and is properly indexed so that future users will find it. This is an agenda for action and I will report back on this over time….I have always adopted the approach that if you cannot find it, then build it!

Thanks for reading…I hope to see you again soon.

Roger Layton