Archiving information, was Re: ADM-3A question

dwight dkelvey at
Fri Aug 16 13:26:43 CDT 2019

One of the problems with archiving is what to do with items that are not popular. Some things might be more valued ten or twenty years in the future but not now. Is the fact that the item has relatively low interest now a possible reason to not archive it in a searchable form for future reference?
What about things that are scattered on other personal sites currently that may be gone next week? So much information is already lost.
Who determines what should be saved? What say you come across a rare document but the copy was poorly done at a lower than desired resolution. Do you refuse to post it because it doesn't meet your standards or do you post it with a note that it is the best to date? Judging such things can be arbitrary and be the reason for lost information.
At least when you publish a book, there is a chance that some copy may be saved. Now with information sitting on someones disk drives, it could be deletes with one mistake.
This is a really complicated issue. I'm getting older and know I'm on the tail end of my life. Still, I have no way to begin to pass on what I have. I doubt my heirs would care much unless it had significant monetary value.

From: cctalk <cctalk-bounces at> on behalf of Seth J. Morabito via cctalk <cctalk at>
Sent: Friday, August 16, 2019 8:31 AM
To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts <cctalk at>
Subject: Re: Archiving information, was Re: ADM-3A question

Paul Koning via cctalk writes:

> Anything worth having around deserves backup.  Which makes me wonder
> -- how is Wikipedia backed up?  I guess it has a fork, which isn't
> quite the same thing.  I know Bitsavers is replicated in a number of
> places.  And one argument in favor of GIT is that every workspace is a
> full backup of the original, history and all.
> One should worry for smaller scale efforts, though.

This is a problem I think about a lot.

In the early 2000s I worked on the LOCKSS program at Stanford
University. LOCKSS stands for "Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe", and is a
distributed network of servers that replicate backup copies of
electronic academic journals. It stemmed from a research project that
looked at how to design an attack resistent peer-to-peer digital
archival network.  Each node in the network keeps a copy of the original
journal content, does a cryptographic hash of each resource (HTML page,
image, PDF, etc.), and participates in a steady stream of polls with all
the other nodes where they vote on the hashes. If a minority of nodes
loses a poll, their content is assumed to be damaged, missing, or bad,
and they replicate the content from the winners of the poll.

It's designed as a "Dark" archive, meaning the data is there, but nobody
tries to access it unless the original web content disappears. Then, the
servers act as transparent web proxies, so when you hit the original URL
or URI, they serve up the content that's now missing from the real
public Internet.

It's a neat idea. It's also open source, and unencumbered with
patents. I've always thought a similar model could be used to archive
and replicate just about anything, but it's just one of those things
that nobody's ever gotten around to doing.

>        paul


  Seth Morabito
  Poulsbo, WA, USA
  web at

More information about the cctalk mailing list