One of my stops on the road tour I just did was Chapel Hill, NC, where I went for a morning bike ride with Anton Zuiker and had dinner with Bora Zivkovic. We talked about a lot of interesting stuff. More to come, I hope.
Bora is the chief science blogger at Scientific American, and just wrote a piece about what it means to be a science blogger. I don't think he had seen my 2003 essay, posted on the Harvard weblogs site, re what makes a weblog a weblog.
After sending a tweet connecting them to the 2003 essay, my eye drifted to the right margin, and saw the links there, and I re-imagined how we bootstrapped the blogging community at Harvard, a little less than nine years ago. I smiled. And wondered what had become of all the sites. Not good news. They're almost all gone.
I wondered how much trouble it would be to restore them. I would love to be able to look at all the notes from our first Thursday evening meetings. See what's in the aggregator. Happily, one of the links still works, because we went to special pains to make sure that it would. The technology site, which the RSS 2.0 spec is part of, is still there. I hope it remains for many years to come.
It was kind of audacious for a law school to have a technology site, but it worked! Sometimes radical ideas are just what are needed to shake things up. Why is this spec at a law school. Perhaps it's something special?
We have to do better. I should have set this up more carefully. It's sad that at a serious university we didn't do a better job of preserving a project that ultimately had so much impact. Most of the things we do aren't that influential.
Update: The NYT Magazine had an excellent article on future-safing in January 2011.