Where do all the websites go?

An irritated thought occurred to me yesterday evening as I got yet another 404 on a university server: Shall I just take down all the links to taught course materials in various EMR pages? Or put them somewhere in a separate page of their own?

Often course materials can be superb – bibliographies, texts, commentaries, images, you name it. But I am just getting really fed up with them. Either they disappear altogether the minute a course is done, or (yes, I know you’ve heard this complaint from me before) they wander around the web at the whim of university/departmental website URL reorganisations.

However, I should probably get more into the hang of using the Wayback Machine. (Though unfortunately you have to have a URL; it doesn’t do keyword searching. But of course, I can look up original URLs of anything I ever linked at EMR on my own archives… which are here, by the way.)

A few retrieved sites (original images may be missing):

Witchcraft and the occult

Joan Pontius’ Best Witches

Folk magic in Britain

(You can guess what I’m reading up on this week.)

So now I’m wondering if there’s any reason why I shouldn’t put up links at EMR to the (most recent) archived versions of some defunct websites that I particularly liked when they were around. It’s something I’ve never come across anyone doing, but I don’t see why not.

Often, images will be missing, so they’re not complete versions of the original sites. And it goes without saying that they’re not being updated; this would probably be most suitable for sites focusing on primary texts and original writing. But (provided I’ve checked that it’s really dead and I note that it’s an archived version), it seems a useful thing to do. When I have time.

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2 Responses to Where do all the websites go?

  1. Brandon says:

    I haven’t seen it done, either; but I also haven’t seen anything that suggests it’s uncouth or evil.

  2. Sharon says:

    A note following subsequent use: getting access to the archived pages can be a bit hit and miss. I sometimes get messages that the ‘request failed to connect to our servers’ – try again later. So it’s not altogether reliable. Definitely last resort. Still better than nowt, though.

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