Cue up the BTO opening power chords

You see a broken icon hole in a post five years old
What were you thinking using Flash?
There was no HTML5 and Adobe seemed alive,
Now that video’s as good as trash.
And that link to what you read is now just a 404 dead.
Keeping the content going is a big pain
Does any one even care, if the web has too much wear
Most let it slip down the drain.

And I’m taking care of my archives (every day)
Taking care of my archives (every way)
I’ve been taking care of my archives (cause it’s mine)
Taking care of archives and going blind, work out.

This all started from a morning desire for a snarky tweet. About twitter. About how it is seemingly feeling dying, as my regular Tweetdeck columns are drying up.

My associative middle school brain went to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the I’m Not Dead Yet scene.

I was pretty sure I had done at least one before, so I searched on my laptop for files with “not dead” in the title. I landed in a place I forgot, some media and whatnot files for a presentation I did in 2010.

The dusty neurons lit up a bit, and I found my blog post. Yes, it was a presentation at the northern Voice conference in 2010 I did with Chris Lott and Brian Lamb.

A seven year old post.

It was a mess.

The video remix I was looking for was a broken embed, because I had old code to embed a quicktime movie. There was another broken one for what I figured was a UStream.tv Flash embed that was shared by Grant Potter. And the link to the conference site http://2010.northernvoice.ca/ is dead.

What a mess.

In my desktoo folder, I had the quicktime video, so I updated that to YouTube, and now it is embeddable as a replacement for the Quicktime version.

The Ustream one is a pile of old flash embed code (I’m to tired to put in the code, this is a screenshot)

The URL in the src="" parameter does pull something down from Ustream.tv, a 157 kb Flash file. I’m not about to put a flash player in my site. Ustream was bought by IBM sometime ago, and it looks like all the old content is gone (?). That one may not be resurrectable.

The link to the Northern Voice conference presentation is dead as anything http://2010.northernvoice.ca/not-dead-yet-blogging

But the Internet Archive Wayback machine has most of the site:

The Wayback machine has the backs of all the yuck yucks who let their archives go rotten

There’s only so much an archivist can save, and that’s just one old post among many.

If you want some longer than next week durability from your WordPress site, I’d suggest the following:

  • Use only web standard HTML and media in your posts. No weird embeds.
  • Try not to rely on shortcodes in your content. If you are using one of those visual layout theme, your content is likely a pile of shortcodes. Any theme changes in the future will likely break things badly.
  • Make sure your stuff is being indexed by the Wayback machine

And timely today was as Adam Croom posted about his process to keep a clean archive of a course he has taught in a number of forms over the years- and how he has been archiving past WordPress sites as static HTML (using the aptly named “Sitesucker” app).

I recommend checking out how Adam has set up a beautiful archive of past classes for PR Pubs, something your LMS will likely just flush and forget.

I went through some of this a year or so ago and since then I have done a few WordPress sitesucked to Static HTML rounds. It just works.

You have to care, a lot, to be a self archivist. And doing so means you have an attitude that your past is not an embarrassment that needs regular cleaning, but shows your growth arc (I’m looking sideways at the tweet deleters).

Most companies, organizations will just dump rather than archive. Beyond the Internet Archive, a lot hinges on individuals who care about their stuff. I put much more faith in individuals to care about preserving their own past.

And I’m taking care of my archives (every day)
Taking care of my archives (every way)
I’ve been taking care of my archives (cause it’s mine)


Featured Image: Pixabay photo by blickpixel shared into the public domain using a CC0ish license

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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