Monday, December 11, 2006

The Virtual Library of Alexandria

Ken makes a good point about diaries. They can provide valuable historical information about everyday life. But the assumption that blogs and other web-only documents are so much digital ephemera may not be entirely accurate.

The original library of Alexandria (Egypt, not Virginia) was the repository for the knowledge of the known world in the 3rd century. Near the site of that ancient library is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which holds the modern equivalent.

Over two pentabytes of archived webpages –- some going back almost ten years -– are available to historians and others through’s “Way Back Machine.”

Have blogs been archived? Possibly. Bots troll the web, accumulating data constantly. There’ll be lots for historians to go over. Here’s an example -– AOL’s website from 1997. Ah, memories.

- Ralph

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