Hidden Wonders

Technology

Why I Use archive.org for Links


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In the few articles I’ve written so far, I’ve been using archive.org links for sites rather than their actual links when possible. This is because the Internet is a constantly changing place; if I were to link to a New York Times article today, the article could be changed drastically the next day. By using archive.org, organizations and people can be held accountable for what they’ve written, and that is very important in an age where so much false information is constantly thrown around. Friendly reminder to never believe what is written on the Internet, even this very page is just me randomly rambling about stuff from memory. Don’t take my word for the fact that the New York Times and other websites/companies change the contents of their webpages at times, do the research to verify this yourself.

There’s also the wider issue of links just dying overtime. Sometimes, that Wikipedia article you link to gets merged into another article or edited beyond recognition, or that obscure website containing that certain study gets taken down or dies. There is so much information on the Internet, making sure that it all stays up for viewing is nearly impossible in the long term.

This is where archive.org and its Wayback Machine comes in. It allows people to take snapshots of websites, allowing people to either hold websites accountable for false claims they made in the past or have a reliable, more permanent link less likely to 404 at some point in the future. There are other archive sites out there, and there are other solutions to the problem I’ve been discussing——if I really wanted to, I could just save the html of each page I wanted to link to on my own website——but archive.org seems the most convenient and reliable of the existing options.

Of course, this all assumes that archive.org stays up, which seems less certain than it once was. There are other articles I’ve read of people suing to close the site down for other reasons as well. There exist other archiving services out there as well, however, so I may consider using one of the more obscure ones if archive.org seems like it’s getting taken down.

It would be awesome if some kind of decentralized archiving service existed on the Internet, but since there is some illegal content out there that needs to get taken down there simply cannot exist an archive which is truly permanent. For now, archive.org is as good as it’s gonna get.


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