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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Future-safe archives Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I just woke up in Paris, it's 5:34AM here, but back in California, it still never ceases to amaze me, the day hasn't yet flipped. You guys haven't even gone to bed yet! Now that's amazing to me. What perseverence! Keep up the good work everybody. ;->

I just started posting a couple of twits that really should be a blog post, so let's get started.

First at some point, after a suitable period of mourning, I'd like to rasie the issue of what's to happen with Marc Orchant's web presence.

Which of course is a way of focusing attention on all of our web presences.

None of us like to think of it, but truth is none of us are going to live forever.

Yet if you read this, it's likely that you're creating a digital body that can and imho should continue to exist even after your physical body stops existing.

A picture named monalisa.jpgPeople are humble, no one wants to come out and say their work has any value that's worth preserving past their death, but come on, we know that's not true. If Shakespeare were alive today, he'd be writing on the web. As would Hemingway or Faulkner, Vonnegut or Mailer, John Lennon or Dylan Thomas, Carl Sandberg or Robert Frost. Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. You think there isn't any great literature out there on the web? I wouldn't be so sure about that. What if there is? And what if a baby born today becomes a great creative force? Or what if there's a social disaster like the Holocaust? Did you know that there are preserved diaries from pre-revolutionary America? Writings of ordinary people can be of enormous help to historians. And if we believe in citizen journalism (I do) why not citizen historians? Shouldn't we be thinking out into the future? We should!

With all possible humility, I'd like to tell you that a few days after I die my entire web presence will likely disappear. My servers require some attention from me from time to time. The first time that happens, poof, there goes 10-plus years of Scripting News, and all the docs for the OPML Editor and the OPML spec, the XML-RPC site, to name just a few. Anyway, within a couple of months it will all certainly disappear, unless someone pays my hosting and DSL bills. Maybe someone will, but isn't it ridiculous that that's what it depends on?

And when my sites disappear so will my uncle's. He died in 2003. His site is still accessible because I keep it that way. When I die, who will will take over for me? I'm sure the world will survive without his writing, but why? If I love the memory of my uncle, and I do, what can I do to reserve a place for him in the archive of the future. It seems such a small thing, but it's most of what remains of his life.

And what of academics, Nobel Laureates and others? I know for a fact that a great university (Harvard) has no plan to protect their web-based work after they pass. It's so ironic that the web offers an archival solution for non-digital work, yet the web information is more fragile than the physical stuff.

Preserving our digital heritage is going to require some foresight, some planning, but it seems possible and we surely can do much better. Marc's fate awaits us all. While we're still alive, there's still time to solve this problem. When we're gone, it will be too late. Part of his legacy can be that he helped focus us on this issue, and his life work could be a great test case. Do we want to see his work preserved? And if so, how will it be done?

PS: The RSS 2.0 site will likely persist, because I gave it to Berkman, and then used it as a test case to learn about future-safing. It seems likely to continue to exist, knock wood, praise Murphy, as long as Harvard exists.

Tonight's speakers dinner Permanent link to this item in the archive.

In Paris, we're ready to go to bed (it's still just 2PM in Calif) and I have some pics from tonight's speakers dinner.

Delia Cohen of Pangea Day and the TED conference.

Doc Searls and Erik Stuart (eBay).

Henri Asseily, founder of Shopzilla.

Doc Searls shooting a picture of me. ;->

Marc Canter and Loic Le Meur.

Louvre and Eifel Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Today's pics from the Eifel Tower and Musee de Louvre.

A hypothetical uber-contact manager Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Paolo hypothesizes a much-needed tool in a post yesterday, and a follow-up today.


Last update: Monday, December 10, 2007 at 9:55 PM Pacific.

A picture named tree.gif

Dave Winer, 52, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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My most recent trivia on Twitter.

On This Day In: 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997.

December 2007
Nov   Jan

Lijit Search
Things to revisit:

1.Microsoft patent acid test.
2.What is a weblog?
3.Advertising R.I.P.
4.How to embrace & extend.
5.Bubble Burst 2.0.
6.This I Believe.
7.Most RSS readers are wrong.
8.Who is Phil Jones?
9.Send them away.
10.Negotiate with users.
11.Preserving ideas.
12.Empire of the Air.
13.NPR speech.
14.Russo & Hale.
15.Trouble at the Chronicle.
15.RSS 2.0.
16.Checkbox News.
17.Spreadsheet calls over the Internet.
18.Twitter as coral reef.
19.Mobs of the blogosphere.
20.Advice for Campaigns.
21.Social Cameras.
22.The Next Big Thing.
23.It's time to open up networking, again.
24.Am I competing?
25.Time to shake up conferences?
26.Bloggers working with journalists.

Teller: "To discover is not merely to encounter, but to comprehend and reveal, to apprehend something new and true and deliver it to the world."

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