Ephemeral or permanent net archives?

Geoff Read g.read at NIWA.CRI.NZ
Wed Aug 7 11:53:20 CDT 1996

Peter Rauch noted [re 1996 taxacom msgs in ten years]:
> Historians find anything interesting. So do junk collectors. So, not to
> worry....  ;>)

> > Also I
> > assume its continued existence  is somewhat fragilely dependent on
> > the voluntary good work of one or two individuals.

> I suspect that some two of the other 1000 subscribers to Taxacom would
> be able to immediately fill in the breach if needed.

I'm not worried actually :-) just realistic. The Taxacom archive is
great but much of today's stuff is unlikely to be vitally useful to
biologists in a couple of years.  I willingly give it to the junk

But talking about net resources generally -- we know they can wink
out as easily as they wink in. They usually exist as only ONE set of
files in one physical place, controlled by one organisation or
individual, despite any multitude of referencing links. Access to
that information, and also the information itself, will be more
easily lost (one fire or flood or malicious person or policy change
or job change will do it) than if hundreds of identical & complete
copies existed (as in books & journals). So, at least for today's
state of technology (there are no duplicate copies of the entire net
yet, though someone apparently wants to attempt it), I do not think
our ramblings are quite as securely online as they may appear from
links within Altavista indices. (Sorry taxacomers, there are probably
other more appropriate  venues for dissecting this issue.
Tell me offlist if you wish :-))

Geoff Read             <g.read at niwa.cri.nz>
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