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OPLIN 4Cast #217: News from the (digital) archives

Posted in 4cast

This posting collects several recent news items that all deal with some aspect of archiving digital material, or digitizing archival material. The topics range from clever activities on the part of enterprising individuals to enterprises making clever use of individual activities. And not all the news is good.

(As a bonus, you might enjoy this interesting article about digized archives being used to corroborate an archeological find.)

  • Digital archivist saves 172 BBC websites in a torrent ( Brown)  “In a wave of brutal cuts at the broadcasting corporation, the BBC recently announced plans to shut down 172 websites in an attempt to scrimp on server fees. ‘The material taken offline is stored for future reference,’ said BBC Online managing editor Ian Hunter, ‘or deleted altogether.'”
  • National Library of Finland turns to crowdsourcing, games to help digitize its archives (ReadWriteWeb/Audrey Watters)  “…the game helps verify the OCR and make sure that digitized materials are accurate and searchable. ‘We wanted to set up “Angry Birds for the Thinking Person”—something which entertains but is also useful to us as a nation,’ says Ekholm, who anticipates teachers and children will enjoy volunteering to help these digitization efforts. Additional phases of the project will be aimed at ‘more serious historical buffs.'”
  • Trouble for the tweet keepers?: Library of Congress’s ambitious plan to create a Twitter archive still hasn’t taken flight (Boston Globe/Alex Beam)  “I suspect this has devolved into an unholy technical and legal clusterfunk, with lawyers piling upon lawyers a la Google Book Settlement to produce a highly compromised and entirely unrewarding result.”
  • Internet Archive releases new version of The Wayback Machine (Information Today/Gary Price)  “The first thing you’ll notice is that Wayback now has its own URL. You can access the beta at When you arrive at the site you’ll notice that except for a bit of text below the search box it’s a basic search box and two buttons. That’s it. This is in stark contrast to a massive amount of text you can see surrounds the interface (what’s now being referred to as the ‘classic interface’) at or The two buttons are labeled ‘Latest’ and ‘Show All.'”

Web archive fact:
The Wayback Machine stores more than 150 billion archived web pages dating back to 1996.