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Sun, 2008-Feb-10

Mortal Bloggers

Tim Bray brings up the issue of what happens to private web sites after we die. It may be self-important of me, but I think the state has some responsibility for preserving the public works of its citizens. I first wrote about this problem back in January 2007.

My theory is that digital works such as personal web sites should be considered analogous to other published works, such as books. Libraries should be responsible for performing restoration work on the data by moving it to their servers, and by maintaining it and its associated domain registrations thereafter. The cost of maintaining this store in terms of storage and bandwidth should be easily minimised. It seems therefore reasonable that the state should attempt to preserve all the published digital works of its citizens.

On the other hand, perhaps we vanity bloggers would all be better of moving to hosting on free public sites hosted by existing large companies. If the private sector is already meeting the need, there is little chance that government will step in to stop the rot.