Archiveteam Project Collects Lost Web 2.0 Content

May 28, 2009

Many users keep their emails with webmail services, wedding pictures in photo communities and reading habits with social bookmarking services. What happens, though, when data is lost or websites fold? Archiveteam wants to help in those circumstances.

The Archiveteam wiki provides various assistance so that your personal photo album and other files don't end up in the ether. Assistance includes instructions and documentation about file formats and storage media, much of which are in early phases of development. In a more progressed state is the team's Deathwatch page with a continually updated list of websites that have gone kaput or are about to go that way. Among them, Yahoo's Geocities site and the already closed Furl and Tripod.

Promise to web users.

Under the rubric Software, the project collects tools, tips and tricks. Included is the GNU wget command that, with some appropriate parameters, secures a complete Wordpress blog on a local hard drive. Some site-specific pages relate to Google, Livejournal and Twitter.

One of the Archiveteam founders is Jason Scott, whose site has been archiving text data off the network from the 1980s and 90s. The young Archiveteam is looking for fellow archivers to write articles and manuals, set up mirror servers and bittorents and form a download task force.

Debian developer Joey Hess has already had thoughts (in a blog) about a GUI program for rescuing Web 2.0 data. Ideally the user would simply enter a list of URLs or a bookmark file and the program would take care of the rest: plugins appropriate to the service or website would handle the work, including a generic one for sites with RSS feeds. Hess is collecting "thoughts, comments, prior art [and] cute program idea names." Some have come his way already.

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