Archive for October, 2009
A short one!
GeoCities, the virtual avatar of the term “lowest common denominator,” is closing down today. I remember telling my children as they set out on the path of Internet research “You can’t cite GeoCities sites.” I later gave them the same advice about Wikipedia; at best, it was a starting point, but the standards maintained by posters there, if extant, were generally microscopic.
As a web designer there are times at work when I stumble upon my own pages that I haven’t visited in ages. I think to myself “I need to go clean that up or delete it.” Well, Yahoo must have had that idea on a grand scale. GeoCities is going away.
Yahoo got rid of their free photo pages a couple of years ago, and changed everyone over to flickr. The change wasn’t particularly smooth and I think I probably have some photos parked in there that I have no idea how to reach. Perhaps the same can be said for the GeoCities pages. It’s the Internet equivalent of Fibber McGee’s closet, a lot of stuff crammed in there that was being kept just to keep it. For much of it, we won’t be sorry to see it go. There were some gems in there, but hopefully they got the message and moved their information to ad-free sites. Yahoo is offering a low-cost way for those pages to continue, according to the Los Angeles Times.
I suspect for a few days bloggers will wax nostalgic about the early GeoCities days, when they, as kids or young adults, posted pages for games, schools, and clubs; when fan pages abounded; and when the lunatic fringe had equal footing with the mainstream, if only because search engines didn’t discriminate with results.
Is there something worth keeping out of all of that? According to the Times, there is.
But an independent group called Archiveteam, headed by Jason Scott, has been trying to save everything left before Yahoo closes the building.
The group of dedicated digital historians have been pointing about a hundred computers at the GeoCities domain 24 hours a day for months. First, the machines crawled the neighborhoods, duplicating copies of everything in sight.
“The hard part was going through and trying to find random user names,” Scott said about the obstacle Yahoo introduced later in GeoCities’ life. “Basically, we’re hitting Google and crawling in every direction.”
So far, Archiveteam has captured about a terabyte of data, or about a thousand gigabytes, in its mission of mirroring the entire site.
What is out there now for free web pages? I suspect they have been replaced by blogs and by groups (Yahoo, Google, etc.). And a search on free web hosting still brings up lots of hits.
Don’t get me wrong–I still go rustling around in that crowded closet every so often, trying to remember where I saw an image or item, or looking for a hobby page in my Favorites links that no longer exists. Even with GeoCities gone, places like the above-mentioned archiveteam or my favorite, the Wayback Machine at Archive.org, will provide access to a lot of that information, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
On October 7 Dr. Howard discussed “Sustainability & Crisis of Expertise” in the Library’s Focus on Faculty program.
The emergence of climate change and other global environmental problems has important implications for our understanding of scientific, technical, and professional expertise. How have our systems of knowledge production, technological innovation, and professional practice made it possible for our civilization to fundamentally disrupt the natural systems on which our success and survival depend? Dr. Howard illustrated his talk with a set of slides that include useful charts and references. He parked his slides online and posted a link to them in the Sustainablilty @ UT Arlington blog. They are stored in MavSpace, where you will need to log on with your netID and password.
Dr. Howard is in the School of Urban and Public Affairs and received the UT Arlington Service Learning Award in 2009. He was a founding co-chair of the President’s Sustainability Committee, where he continues to serve.
United States President Thomas Jefferson once called Berlin-born Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) “the most important scientist whom I have met.” Humboldt was the most internationally recognized scientist and explorer of his time. The University of Texas at Arlington Library Special Collections commemorates the 150th anniversary of the death of Alexander von Humboldt, by celebrating this remarkable man whose influence dominated United States’ exploration and cartography for more than half a century between the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the American Civil War.
This exhibit, drawn from UT Arlington Library’s Special Collections, Southern Methodist University’s DeGolyer Library, and other collections, focuses not only upon many of Humboldt’s own major publications, but also examines original works by 19th-century German authors, cartographers, artists, and printmakers who depicted the American Southwest, Mexico, and Texas for evidence of direct connections with Humboldt and/or his ideas.
Special Collections is on the sixth floor of Central Library, 702 Planetarium Place, Arlington, Texas. Hours are Monday 9am to 7pm and Tuesday through Saturday 9am to 5pm. Directions to the library.
For more information, contact Erin O’Malley at 817-272-2179 or email@example.com
Librarian Gretchen Trkay sent out a notice recently to inform library staff about the digitization of archived interviews with well-known actors, producers and other television
luminaries by The Archive of American Television. Whether browsing for personal or academic reasons, the archive is fascinating.