October 6, 2001
1:40 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone set up an online home - museum? - where 'Internet Icons' can be stored safely for future generations? If not shouldn't they? I nominate this coffee pot, this sadly missed phonebox and maybe even this guy. Are there any others which you think would qualify?
posted by Duug (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
oh, I don't know, sometimes it's worth cataloguing the ephermera of everyday life. tangentially your question reminds me of:

the dead media project consists of a database of field Notes written and researched by members of the Project's mailing list. The mailing list consists of occasional email to that stout band of souls who have declared some willingness to engage in this recherche field of study.

jump right into the index of dead media working notes.
posted by rebeccablood at 2:07 PM on October 6, 2001

Remember DotComGuy? His site at http://www.dotcomguy.com/ doesn't even resolve anymore. He needs a museum now more than ever.
posted by mathowie at 2:25 PM on October 6, 2001

The obvious answer, Duug, is the Internet Archive, a spinoff of Alexa. Supposedly they're slurping terabytes of stuff to tape backup for future research. A recent project has deliberately focused on individual accounts of September 11 and personal responses, because those are most likely to be lost forever -- perhaps even within weeks as forums roll over and people replace temporary web pages with regular content. Acting fast is essential.

skallas, I've seen this know-nothing argument on Slashdot. "I'm not interested in it, so it doesn't matter." The internet has replaced so many other forms of communication that we're in danger of losing our history. An investigation of how the White House came to decide to drop the A-bomb on Hiroshima can be done just with paper. An investigation of how the White House came to arrange for Nicaraguan right-wing contras to sell drugs to generate profits to buy missiles to sell to Iran to win freedom for US hostages held in Beirut, Lebanon (kids, that really happened, just about 15 years ago) had to rely on e-mail that was half-deleted (in a desperate cover-up) and only barely salvageable due to regular backups. It's not just important historical events, either. I was at a talk where a scholar was using hand-written shipping inventory pages from an Italian merchant in the 15th century to derive a useful picture of what kinds of commerce took place. Will a scholar 450 years from now be able to read a Safeway DAT backup tape to do the same? History is not just a series of events.
posted by dhartung at 2:53 PM on October 6, 2001

Well, if I could have a say in what was included, it would definitely have walter_miller's homepage among its ranks.
posted by lizardboy at 3:25 PM on October 6, 2001

Speaking of Mahir...
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 4:52 PM on October 6, 2001

skallas, in a word: because any archive that failed to include them would be dishonest, useless, and far less interesting.

Or, for the same reason that any history of television in the 20th century would be obligated to include the OJ Bronco chase.

History is social much more than it is technological.
posted by dhartung at 6:31 PM on October 6, 2001

Whether you want to call it an archive or a museum, or whatever, judging by the nature of the examples that Duug included in his post, the post was about exhibits of pop-culture, be they junk or not.
I'm sure Duug feels horrible about not living up to your standards as to what deserves to be remembered. May we all learn from such deplorable folly.
posted by lizardboy at 9:06 PM on October 6, 2001

Can we please make an entire wing devoted to that rotating skull .gif that everybody had on their web page in 1996?!
posted by Hildago at 9:35 PM on October 6, 2001

NetSlaves, Undertakers of the New Economy and their Museum of E-Failure, at least for the dead icons. Note: This was a link on MeFi back in Jan or Feb of this year... too lazy to look it up.
posted by JParker at 11:54 PM on October 6, 2001

When I click on the links at the Museum of E-Failure, all I get is someone trying to sell me a credit card.

Hmm, Falco!

(& NTKs passim)
posted by Grangousier at 12:35 AM on October 7, 2001

Ah, Museum of E-Failure is now GhostSites. But, curiously, the Museum of E-Failure is not listed as a ghost site... Thanks for flagging that, Grangousier, should have clicked on a few links myself before I posted. Again, too lazy...
posted by JParker at 12:47 AM on October 7, 2001

Is the current generation checking out the fads and icons of the 1850's because the people then thought they were great?

We check out as many of the "fads and icons of the 1850's " that we can get our hands on, but we can do better. We have far less excuses not to do so than the people of the 1850's, we have more leisure time, our lives aren't so taken up with having to simply survive, we live a great deal longer, and have far more and far better media at hand to record our history.

History isn't just battles and politics, it's actually the day-to-day life of ordinary people that I am interested in.

It's not for us to determine what aspects of our history future generations will be interested in. It's up to us to simply keep and catalogue as much as possible, so that future generations will be able to get a better idea of our lives in their entirety, than perhaps we can get now of the lives of people who lived in the 1850's. They will be able to choose what they want to know, rather than just in effect get a missive "hey, this is what we have sent for you, down the centuries. This is what we thought would be important for you to know about us, the other stuff, the stuff that took up our daily lives, we considered that to be ephemeral, so we skipped it."
posted by lucien at 4:47 AM on October 7, 2001

So, these are the "good ol' days" we need to remember in the future?
posted by DBAPaul at 7:28 AM on October 7, 2001

You're entitled to your own opinion without being snarky about it.

...he says as he spews another truckload of snark all over yet another mefi thread. i thank allah everyday for self-annoited mefi quality defenders like the ayatolla skallas.
posted by quonsar at 9:01 AM on October 7, 2001

now thats snarky...
posted by quonsar at 9:07 AM on October 7, 2001

I get what you're saying skallas and of course it's a valid point.

I simply felt that the Internet is about community, and the icons I put forward were trying to reflect the kind of early excitement that silly ordinary things meant to lots of people across the world as an Internet community.

I don't believe that whether they're pop or not is really the issue; rather it's whether they generated a genuine community 'buzz' for whatever reason. I mean wasn't that mostly what the whole Cool Site of the Day idea was about?

Perhaps museum was the wrong word, and 'time vault' would be a better description.
posted by Duug at 2:34 PM on October 7, 2001

I definitely think there is room for a museum on the net. One small examply: I was writing an article for publication recently, and it is getting extremely hard to find any information (let alone anyone who even remembers!) the Great Green Card Spam of '94 by Cantor and Siegel. This would go in the 'infamous' section of the museum.
posted by Counselco at 3:44 AM on October 9, 2001

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