I'm in the process of migrating some old web content, when I came across a fan page I'd created in 1997 for the album Anokha: Soundz of the Asian Underground. It felt like an incredibly important compilation at the time, and helped break the Asian Underground and new British Asian electronic music scenes. I'd been hunting for reviews, to get a better sense of the context, and decided to put up a fan page about the album, linking to off-site reviews.
I just came back to my Online Guide to Anokha website after twelve years, and for nostalgia's sake, decided to look at some of the reviews.
Click. 404. Click. 404. Click. 404
All twenty-four outgoing links had died. In many cases, the entire website had disappeared. Tim Berners-Lee famously said "cool URIs don't change." Apparently nobody had informed the rest of us.
I suffered a moment of panic, realizing I could never go back to recapture the context of the document. And then, a sigh. There was always the Internet Archive. I loaded up the page in the Internet Archive.
Click. Yes. Click. Yes. Click. Yes.
I found pulled up seventeen of twenty-four links. A few had issues, including reliance on dead video plugin formats. One now-dead site had blocked crawlers, preventing the Internet Archive from storing any record of their existence. But by and large, it was mostly there. I breathed a sigh of relief.
The Internet Archive still feels like a massively-unsung hero of the net, single-handedly staving off the forces of amnesia by linkrot, for those who choose to embrace the open web. It gives me pause to think about how much less we'll be archiving as we spend more time in walled gardens like Facebook, or with hard-to-index dynamic/AJAX content.
Below, for your linkrot-loving enjoyment, are the broken links from 1998; you can also see the the page with archived links at the Internet Archive.
- Duke Chronicle, by Chris Hoover
- Phoenix New Times
- DesiSoundStation, by Aamir Qazi
- Request Line, by Peter Margasak
- Denver WestWord, by Kelly Lemieux
- A. Magazine, by John Yee
- CMJ, by Dawn Sutter
- Look What The Cat Dragged In
- Sydney Morning Herald, by Michael D'Souza
- Initial Reflection
- Strange Attractors
- StreetSounds, by Jeffrey L. Newman
- Daily Illini, by Andrew Armstrong
- Washington Post, by Mark Jenkins
- Wired, by Scott Taves
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