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After the Money’s Gone

Nothing to to with the Talking Heads song the title alludes to, but musing on death and the destiny of websites.

Robin Rendle raises a concern we should all (who write on the web) have:

But if my URL is dead, my website dies with it.

My work shouldn’t be presented in the Smithsonian behind glass or anything, I’m just pointing at this enormous flaw in the architecture of the web itself: you’re renting servers and renting URLs. Nothing is permanent because on the web we don’t really own any space, we’re just borrowing land temporarily.

What happens to our websites after we’re gone? There needs to be a way to memorialise them, make sure they’re still around in some form. Archive.org is great, but it doesn’t keep the canonical URLs alive. Famously, Tim Berners-Lee wrote, ‘Cool URIs Don’t Change.’ Disappearance is the biggest change of all.

Although I see from there:

Pretty much the only good reason for a document to disappear from the Web is that the company which owned the domain name went out of business or can no longer afford to keep the server running.

Hmm, is that a good reason? and it’s surprisingly slanted towards companies, considering the origin of the web, and TBL’s place of work.

(And speaking of cool URIs — or domains — home.cern? That is fantastic!)

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