Columbia Journalism Review: Erasing history

Columbia Journalism Review: Erasing history. “In the 21st century, more and more information is ‘born digital’ and will stay that way, prone to decay or disappearance as servers, software, Web technologies, and computer languages break down. The task of internet archivists has developed a significance far beyond what anyone could have imagined in 2001, when the Internet Archive first cranked up the Wayback Machine and began collecting Web pages; the site now holds more than 30 petabytes of data dating back to 1996. (One gigabyte would hold the equivalent of 30 feet of books on a shelf; a petabyte is a million of those.) Not infrequently, the Wayback Machine and other large digital archives, such as those in the care of the great national and academic libraries, find themselves holding the only extant copy of a given work on the public internet. This responsibility is increasingly fraught with political, cultural, and even legal complications.”