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Act 49: A Note about Web Archives

Ronald J. Riley (who describes himself on his website as an "inventor and entrepreneur") has created a website about my battle with the Taubman Company. The website is online at:

So even though Taubman Sucks is dead (by order of a federal court judge), Taubman-Sucks lives!

I was curious about how Mr. Riley managed to include links to so many of my web pages without my help (without my knowledge, in fact), especially when those pages are no longer online. Looking at Mr. Riley's site, I discovered that he made use of a couple of Web "archives":

  • The Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/) "has created the Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine makes it possible to surf pages stored in the Internet Archive's web archive." Its purpose is to offer "permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format." It opens its collections "to researchers, historians, and scholars to ensure that they have free and permanent access to public materials."

  • Google (http://www.google.com/), my favorite search engine, "takes a snapshot of each page examined as it crawls the web and caches these as a back-up in case the original page is unavailable. If you click on the 'Cached' link, you will see the web page as it looked when we indexed it."

Although these two organizations have very different goals (one is into preservation, the other is a commercial search engine), one feature they have in common is that they allow continuing access to materials that have been removed from the Web – even, in this case, material that has been forcibly removed (kicking and screaming) from the Web!

One important byproduct (intended or otherwise) of these archives (and others, I assume) is that they make it impossible for anyone (even a federal judge) to impose effective censorship on the Web! Increasingly, Web archives will ensure that the Web can fulfill its promise of allowing each of us to share our thoughts with the world – and although people with money and resources may always be able to make things difficult for people who disagree with them, the archives ensure that the folks with the money won't be able to silence the other folks.

So my hat is off to Ronald J. Riley for making me aware of this vitally important activity. And I salute the Internet Archive, Google, and any other organizations whose efforts to preserve the all-too-ephemeral content of Web are helping to ensure that the "right of free speech" has some real meaning in this electronic age.

Next: My New Appeal Is Docketed

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©2001 Hank Mishkoff
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