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Jason Scott wants to save GeoCities

Jason Scott (of Textfiles.com fame) is leading an effort to archive GeoCities before Yahoo takes it offline:

Already, little gems have shown up in the roughly 8000+ sites I’ve archived. Guitar tab archives. MP3s that surely took the owners hours to rip and generate. GIF files, untouched for 13 years. Fan fiction. Photographs and websites of people long dead. All stuff that, I think, down the line, will have meaning. It’s not for me to judge. It’s for me to collect.

I can’t do this alone. I’m going to be pulling data from these twitching, blood-in-mouth websites for weeks, in the background. I could use help, even if we end up being redundant. More is better. We’re in #archiveteam on EFnet. Stop by. Bring bandwidth and disks. Help me save Geocities. Not because we love it. We hate it. But if you only save the things you love, your archive is a very poor reflection indeed.

This is a truly awesome thing to do.

2 Comments

  1. I agree. I also don’t “hate” Geocities and I doubt he does either, he just feels the need to say that cause the fashionable kids all said it. I liked geocities – okay, not the terrible javascript, the pop-ups, pop-unders, the hideous page layouts, the incomprehensible hierarchical organization – but I liked what he liked (sometimes) – the STUFF on those pages. It was user created content before there was Wikipedia and blogs and Facebook. You had to be a little hardcore to use it and what it made looked awful. But you know, it was stuff on the Internet circa 1998 – that’s history, that is.

    If humanity manages to survive the coming energy/sustainability/population/firepower crunch – which I think it will, but I’m a delusional optimist – this first age of the Internet will be as combed-over as the first publications of the printing press.

    Of course, they’ll find a lot of crap. But even crap can be interesting in aggregate. How many mentions of Barack Obama made in 1999? In each successive year? Who was prophetic about the Iraq war and who was idiotic? The record is going to sit out there for billions of years – in fact in attenuated and abbreviated form we’ve been beaming it, recoverably albeit not with current technologies, into space for decades – and people – or our alien overlords – are going to cherish it. Even the crap. You only get one first decade of the mass Internet…

  2. Jason is a bizarre character. Because, while I support his efforts and agree with his goals, his reaction to Last Year’s Model involved putting up an entire elaborate parody site which is, yes, about not saving old technology, and closes with this admonishment:

    “Fuck everybody who can’t take a joke or realize how vapid this ‘movement’ is, and how peer-pressure bullying tactics suck no matter what your good intentions are.”

    I agree with Jacob — I don’t hate GeoCities, I think it’s as valuable as any folk art collection in a nascent medium. But I find it especially peculiar that Jason’s resorted to, well, peer-pressure bullying tactics to get people to support his effort to archive Last Year’s Web. I guess we all contain multitudes. 🙂

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