News outlets have been getting the word out on Internet Archive efforts to preserve President-elect Donald Trump’s statements; the outgoing Obama Administration’s web page and government data; as well as preventing that nasty experience of encountering a “404” when you click on a link online, aka “link rot.”
A number of journalists have been exploring the riches contained within the newly launched Trump Archive, a TV news clips of the president-elect speaking peppered with links to more than 500 fact checks by national fact-checking groups.
Annie Wiener, writing for The New Yorker, immerses herself in Trump statements and discovers 56 mentions of the escalator in Trump tower, and that Trump:
“is a fan of the word “sleaze,” and of the phrase “tough cookie,” which he has used to describe policemen, his opponents’ political donors, Paul LePage, “real-estate guys in New York and elsewhere,” an unnamed friend who is a “great financial guy,” isis, three professional football players, Reince Priebus, Lyndon Johnson, and Trump’s father, Fred. After watching long stretches of video, she writes, “It occurred to me that spending time online in the Trump Archive could be a form of immersion therapy: a means of overcoming shock through prolonged exposure.”
Geoffrey Fowler, tech columnist for The Wall Street Journal, bemoans the lack of easy-to-use tech tools to help people be responsible citizens overall, but also notes the promise–and challenge–of a curated collection like the Trump Archive:
“The Trump Archive shows what’s hard about using tech to hold officials accountable. It’s assembled and hand-curated by humans. Yet even using the transcripts, it can be hard to tell the difference between a spoken name and a person who’s actually speaking. Archive officials say making their database applicable to hundreds or thousands more politicians would require help from tech firms with capabilities in machine learning and voice and facial recognition.”
Fowler also published this video, featuring plenty of Trump, an interview with Roger Macdonald, director of the TV News Archive; and ample footage of the Internet Archive’s San Francisco headquarters.
Preserving Obama Administration websites, social media
The Internet Archive’s efforts to help preserve government websites via the Wayback Machine during and after the transition has continued to garner attention. Wired reports on a group of climate scientists working against the clock to archive government websites related to global warming:
One half was setting web crawlers upon NOAA web pages that could be easily copied and sent to the Internet Archive. The other was working their way through the harder-to-crack data sets—the ones that fuel pages like the EPA’s incredibly detailed interactive map of greenhouse gas emissions, zoomable down to each high-emitting factory and power plant.
The New Scientist also writes on efforts to archive climate data:
Fears that data could be misused or altered have prompted crowd-sourcing to back up federal climate and environmental data, including Climate Mirror, a distributed volunteer effort supported by the Internet Archive and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Toronto.
Internet Archive works against link rot
Now Internet Archive has built a Wayback Machine Chrome extension. It works like this: If you click on a link that would normally lead to an error page (think 404), the extension will instead give users the option to load an archived version of the page. The link is no longer simply gone.