Ah the work of reclaiming is ongoing. I’ve not tended to much in 2021 to my pile of web bones, where I list my efforts to reclaim my external web sites that have been dumped by the hosts.

In yesterday’s email, I got a notice from PBWorks that one of my old wikis was in danger of being ploughed over.


We noticed that you haven’t used your workspace named: New Learning Technologies Buffet for over 11 months.

As you may have heard, we reclaim workspaces that have fallen into disuse (PBworks Spring Cleaning).

Reclaiming these idle workspaces frees up thousands of potentially useful URLs for people who will actually put them to use. We’re planning to reclaim your workspace in 30 days.

If you want to keep your workspace, click here [link removed]. If you’re not currently logged into your PBworks account, you’ll be asked to log in. You’ll know that your workspace has been removed from the deletion list once the warning message disappears.

If you’re truly no longer using your workspace, simply do nothing, and in 30 days, we’ll delete the unused workspace and reclaim its URL.

The PBworks Team

from my inbox

I recall getting this message on this last year and following the steps to keep the site active. though obviously I did nothing with it. I am a bot wary of there being a shortage of URLs, it seems more about clearing out inactive sites.

Anyhow, i took one click to reclaim my wiki, thanks PBWorks.

At least PBWorks offers to keep the wiki’s alive, unlike when Wikispaces tanked and they just sank the whole ship.

When the PBWiki?

While all the Not For Tyrannosauruses rage now is the Own/Sell web, where the main level of interactivity is clicking Like buttons , in a previous era the buzz was the Read/Write web, one that was open to creation of content.

Wikis were the rage in edtech in the early and mid 2000s, though anyone currently will likely just associate it with one big giant (and valuable) one. I shall resist in too much paleotechnology waxing, but for my use, they made for ideal platforms for creating workshop materials because participants could create / add content too.

This wiki in question was built in a nifty site I used early on then known as PBWiki, with the tagline that it was something where “making a wiki is as easy as making a peanut butter sandwich.” According to that big Wiki, PBWiki was launched in June 2005.

Claiming the PBWiki

Enough talk, show us the wiki!

Well, here it is via link http://learntech.pbworks.com/ and screenshot (just in case):

This was a workshop for Chandler-Gilbert Community College I co-presented with Tom Foster, then an instructional technologist there (and also quite the bass player in a band, but that’s a another story). This was an effort to bring a “buffet” of new learning technologies (there I go again with the metaphor, notice the flickr photo and use of Creative Commons):

There are so many technologies “out there” and no one can truly keep up with them all. This workshop is intended to introduce a few broad areas of technology, give you some examples to explore, and some more resources for following up. It is a lot to taste so keep the line moving!


My confusion is the date listed in the workshop is January 13, 2005 not possible since PBWiki was not even beta until May 2005, and besides the revision history on the front page (go wiki) indicates it was created in November 2005.

My blog saves the day! Yes, the workshop was in January 2006. That’s just a 15 year old typo.

My rationale for PBWiki as stated in January, 2006:

Starting from scratch just 2 days ago, I turned to PBWiki to hoist the site. PB is great because of its simplicity, plus you could have a group work on it by just providing a single editing password (and avoid the problems of having a wide open wiki). Their wiki syntax is pretty easy, and I very much like things like creating a SideBar page that becomes a fixed sidebar on all pages. They have file uploads and give you 10 Mb of space for a freebie account. And apparently, there are still a lot of wiki names you can get for your site, I never thought I’d be able to get “learntech”.


Anyhow, I was a fan/user of both PBWiki and Wikispaces which also come on the scene in early 2005 (link to WIkipedia since Wikispaces fell on its own sword) (yes I am still sore about the reams of dead links they left behind), though I seemed to turn more to Wikispaces in 2007. Seems like the wrong choice now, as I can see that my old PBWiki is still alive, even if it needs a boost check in once a year.

For a whiff of what was considered new learning technologies in 2005… each included a What / Why, Linked Examples, platforms to try, and more links, links, links which I would guess are 85% dead now

  • Blogs http://learntech.pbworks.com/TryBlogs – pretty much dying these days as most blogs I read for a long time have gone dormant, shifted to places like medium.com or stuffed in as email news letters. And a lot of things I once saw folks posting as resources on a blog or web site are now just shoveled out as Google docs. No blogging death here!
  • Wikis http://learntech.pbworks.com/TryWikis – as already said, for shared spaces where anyone can write, besides WIkipedia, not much action there. Most have replaced it with open editable google docs.
  • Eportfolios http://learntech.pbworks.com/TryEports – still of interest, importance. Much has gone to either templated systems, or free sites like WordPress.com or Wix et al.
  • Photosharing http://learntech.pbworks.com/TryPhotosharing – Most photosharing has been hoovered by Instagram or people just lumping their photos in Google, here you find my still making a case for flickr.
  • Finding Free Stuff http://learntech.pbworks.com/TryFreestuff – Can I say I was early here on advocating open? There are bits about copyright, a young organization called “Creative Commons” and the usual, still common, long list of sites to locate open (I guess I fell into the equating with free trap) stuff
  • Maps http://learntech.pbworks.com/TryGooglemaps – it seems nothing exotic to rely on interactive maps, but I held much hope for using them for more than locating the closest pizza joint.

Left on the sideboard, was mention of Podcasting (kaching, on the money in 2021!), RSS (still not dead yet), and social bookmarking (barely a pulse to most, still vital to me). And from my notes, curiosities like:

  •  Adaptation to my Generation JK Keller posts a photo of himself taken every day, in the same location, same expression, since 1997. And he is still at it after 23 years, maybe the most impressive daily photo project ever.
  • I was very excited about a collaborative writing platform called Writely. I wonder if anything came of it.

The plan for using the wiki was having participants, in groups, create a wiki page to share what they learned or discovered or whatever they wanted to share- see my demo or Tom’s page (see, guitar!).

I can guess that we maybe dumped a lot on folks, their wiki pages have some shreds, like Connie, Freddie, and Megan’s note indicating what some instructors thought of blogs in 2005, “Blogs are making the world smaller and breaking cultural barriers. Blogs are a way for people to talk openly about their thoughts and views without fear. Although some people are concerned about blogs and want to censor things.”

Yikes, I did wax nostalgic for the web2 days. I guess I should just shove this thing on the blockchain and ride along like all the other simian yacht club clique.

Reclaiming the PBWiki

In light of a bit of tweet exchanges with Wes Fryer about archiving sites, I decided to pull out the Sitesucker vacuum and hoover up my Learntech wiki.

I have added this to my Web Bones Collection of reclaimed sites and you can find it now and forever on my own domain at http://bones.cogdogblog.com/learntech/

I finally got smart in checking the preferences option to tell sitesucker not to keep all of the robots.txt files it finds (see the docs). There is usually some kind of fiddling needed to get to the main page in a site like a wiki.

I get a few sub directories of content for media that was hosted outside of the wiki, plus the wiki structure depends a bit on redirects to content stuffed a few directories down. With some comparison to the live site, I found the main home page in /learntech/learntech.pbworks.com/w/page/15960196/FrontPage.html

To make it easier for my site to link to, I added an index.php file in the main learntech directory with a redirect in it:

That way this works as a public link to my archive http://bones.cogdogblog.com/learntech/.

And thus I have both claimed and reclaimed my 2005 PBWiki. To me, that is winning the web, not bidding cryptocurrency cash to get ownership of some pixels anyone else can copy. Pfffft, web3 smells like dung beetles.

Featured Image: I feel the pressure of my own post! I remixed Reclaim the goodness! flickr photo by duncan shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license to change “Goodness” to “Wikiness” , and share it under the same license.

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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.


  1. I have several PB Wikis used for various projects, mainly courses. In a couple of cases, the closed wiki takes the place of the institutional LMS. I don’t teach the relevant courses every year, so they can go unused for a while at a time. So I’m used to getting these notices and clicking to reactivate. In one case recently I missed clicking for a bit and got the notice that the wiki had actually been deleted. Happily an email exchange with PBWorks customer service raised that zombie. So I remain pleased to use their stuff.

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