Tuesday, February 06, 2007

PURLs before swine

After starting up my blog last year, I was excited to discover that numerous friends - from various stages of my life - had blogs of their own. But sometimes I found that their online presence had been abandoned after only a few weeks or months of blogging; my messages of greeting and hopeful reunion perhaps never to be found. Sigh...

I sometimes find myself pondering what would happen to my various websites should I suddenly not be around any more.

Luckily for one of them, way back in 1999, my Number 96 Home Page was catalogued and "captured" for inclusion in the online PANDORA Archive. It was quite a thrill: my home page was selected for the first exclusive group of (three) Internet sites about Australian television programs to appear in the National Library of Australia's online public access catalogue, alongside the official websites for The Panel and the long-forgotten Good Guys, Bad Guys! In 1999, The Panel and Good Guys, Bad Guys were both current shows; my site honours an Aussie soap opera from the 1970s, and the site has been running since "the Year of '96" (wink).

Number 96

PANDORA has since catalogued many other Australian TV show websites. They simply web whack* the site as it existed at time of cataloguing (ie. mine on 26 Nov, 1999), but once only, and give it a PURL (persistent URL). They also provide a hot link to the current updated site (if it continues to exist, which - so far - mine does). The Panel's URL now only links to Working Dog's production house site, and the original Good Guys, Bad Guys website has vanished completely! ("Why wasn't I told?" Dorrie would ask.)

Even if, somehow, Ian McLean, web composer, vanishes, the Number 96 Home Page shall continue forever!

* "Web whacking" is when someone downloads a copy of an entire website to their hard drive. Of course, doing that means they never get to see any future changes that are made by the web composer. But it does preserve for posterity an early version that even the website owners might not keep in their files.

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