To protect and to preserve
I’m gratified to see that my thoughts on archiving my data—prompted by the shutdown of Pownce, Magnolia, Ficlets, etc., etc., etc.,—are shared by others. But it’s all well and good for me to talk about how I’m backing up by using APIs, RSS, PHP and other non-trivial technologies. As David said when he bookmarked my post:
Now if someone would build a backup-to-local system that I could use…
Paul has been thinking about how to build it:
Now I’m wondering: is there a space for a piece of user-installable software, like Movable Type or Wordpress, that aggregates their data from sites across the web, and then presents it as a site? If there is, is it even possible to write it in a way that anyone who couldn’t have written it themselves can even use it? Can I write it just for myself in the first place?
Meanwhile, Mike points me to an impassioned post by Jason Scott prompted by the callous, heartbreaking closure of AOL Hometown. That’s right; AOL.
And before you sneer at AOL people, these people who trusted AOL: how about your Flickr? Your Facebook? Whatever the hot new wig-wag that you’re dumping hours into without thinking about it? What, you’re paying for something? Check this recent event out, paying subscriber: you have shit. Because of a cascade of EULA and Best Practices, and most importantly, a complete disregard for the importance of this data, we’re going to let it happen again. And again. And again.
Read his post and then read the follow-up: Datapocalypso! wherein he proposes an A-Team for rescuing data:
They’d go to a site, spider the living crap out of it, reverse engineer what they could, and then put it all up on archive.org or another hosting location, so people could grab things they needed. Fuck the EULAs and the clickthroughs. This is history, you bastards.
It’s still early days, but Archive Team now exists.