The History of the IIPC, through Web Archives

By Nicholas Taylor, Web Archiving Service Manager, Stanford University

Web archives have now been around long enough that the web content they’ve preserved may never have been previously experienced by full-grown adults today; to this cohort, some websites were only ever “historical.” Web archives represent an increasingly vital and singular body of cultural heritage and a tool for understanding both the past and social phenomena. They’re also a handy tool for understanding the evolution of the IIPC itself.

netpreserve.org_2015

home page of the IIPC website, 16 March 2015

While I trust that our own programmatic record-keeping would be sufficient to reconstruct some of the following findings, they would also be thankfully self-evident to a future historian (one unusually interested in the history of the history of the Web) from the web archives themselves. Consulting the UK Web Archive front-end for the IIPC-funded, LANL-developed and -hosted Memento Aggregator shows that Internet Archive has the greatest number of snapshots of the entire history of the IIPC’s web presence.

Here’s some of what I learned, exploring the timeline:

netpreserve.org_2004

home page of IIPC website, 3 june 2004

I imagine that these latter three points especially will be interesting to consider in the context of our forthcoming discussions for a new membership agreement to replace the one expiring this year (PDF) and to inform refined IIPC mission and goals. Here’s hoping that the most exciting history of the history of the Web is still ahead of us!

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