If a Pulitzer-nominated 34-part series of investigative journalism can vanish from the web, anything can.
The web, as it appears at any one moment, is a phantasmagoria. It’s not a place in any reliable sense of the word. It is not a repository. It is not a library. It is a constantly changing patchwork of perpetual nowness.
From The Atlanic website on October 15th, a pivotal piece about the Internet not quite as many of us know it – dynamic, tangential, interactive, user generated, information to be found and shared, classified by taxonomies and distributed across the globe, but also lost, trashed, disconnected, and forgotten.
It is not a repository.
Aside from the Internet Archive Way Back Machine, web archiving program, and person back ups, the Internet is not perpetually recorded, nor indexed. We rely on secondary services, corporate entities and cultural heritage organizations to respect, honor, retain, describe, index, and either keep behind pay walls or contribute to the collective accessible information we each have the right to access and educate ourselves with. An ideal situation would be knowledge for all, regardless of one’s class, access to technology, or affiliation…
It is not a library.
With a library we can provide access to information, by saving, storing, describing and indexing in useful, transparent ways. We educate about saving knowledge, and documenting our work to preserve it beyond the Internet.