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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Broken Links

Over the years Medieval Writing has acquired a formidable array of external links, which periodically have to be systematically checked. I started this job again today. I thought I would finish it today. No such luck!
I had thought we were over the worst period for random changes of URL, but it seems sites are still migrating and also disappearing. Site owners who work in places like universities get new jobs, and pack their site up with them to a new university server. The move towards giving academic projects their own snappy little URL instead of the long and complex university style index finger breakers seems to have abated unfortunately. Many big institutions are going over to database driven sites, which ought to be a good thing for archiving, but it seems that things can still get mislaid in the spin cycle. The website for the Louvre has become as labyrinthine as the building, as I discovered when trying to relocate a lovely medieval exhibition, which was still there.
Some sites get taken down when they are considered to be no longer relevant, but how an article about some ancient medieval treasure can lose its relevance because it's no longer 2002 is beyond me. One of the marvellous things about web exhibitions is that they can extend the life of real exhibitions for those who never got to go there in the first place, or who have only just discovered them. Sometimes things can be excavated out from the Internet Archive, and sometimes not. A heroic but mysterious beastie, that one, but if a favourite website has disappeared, it's always worth a search.
It's a little bit sad when stuff that has been on the web for years for free suddenly disappears because it has gone to a commercial publishing house. The copyright wars seem to be in a hotting up stage at the moment.
Anyway, why can't those clever geek boys invent a tracking system for web pages, so that wherever they go, they can't get lost. How hard can it be? Meanwhile, back to the quill pen. I'll probably just get the site updated in time to start again.

2 comments:

Bijoy said...

Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

Biby Cletus

Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. Tillotson:
I'm working to promote a novel that comes out in July called The Bestiary by Nicholas Christopher (The Dial Press). I thought it might be of interest to you and your website's visitors--it's the story of a young man's journey around the world to find a lost medieval book about mythical animals. I was wondering how I might be able to send you a copy and more information, for possible inclusion on your blog. Thank you very much for your time.
Angela