Creative Commons licensed photograph, "Underwood," by Flickr user Canned Muffins

Preserving the Web

The Digital Dark Ages

It is 2039 and you are all roughly the age your professor was in 2019 (😱💀😩). Hardware and software have both changed so much in the past 20 years that while many websites from 2010s still exist, they no longer work on modern machines.

Your committee has been tasked with identifying a single website from the memey teens (that’s what they’re called in the future, deal with it) to preserve for posterity. You must determine:

  1. What site would be most vital to preserve to help future students, scholars, or the general public understand the internet (or the broader culture) of the teens? Why is this site so important?
  2. What would the scope of preservation be for your chosen website? What technologies are involved? What surrounding materials (linked sites, embeddings, etc.) would also need to be preserved in order for your chosen site to make sense?
  3. What technologies will you need for preservation? Will you require operational software and hardware from the early 2000s, or will you be able to emulate those computing environments on newer hardware?
  4. How would you need to present the archived version of your chosen website in order for people to understand its content, but also its modes of engagement? Would simply presenting the material on the site be sufficient, or are there modes of interaction that would also need to be preserved, ported, or simulated?
  5. What context will you need to provide for those interacting with your archive in order for them to understand the site you chose and why?