The internet is forever… until it isn’t. Sure, there are a thousand ways to dig up embarrassing posts written by celebrities but too many writers have seen their work disappear without a trace.
No method is foolproof but I wanted to share a bit of information about free internet archive sites.
What are archive sites?
They are websites dedicated to preserving the internet. For example, a journalist may wish to preserve a page exactly as it appears TODAY and do not want it altered or deleted. But archive sites are also a great way to save your personal work.
I write my reviews in Word before publishing them on my WordPress site but documents don’t save things like image captions. (Well, they CAN but it’s a hassle to lay out and Word does weird things when it’s exported.) If you’re like me (paranoid), you probably have a backup service for your blog but these services generally only take you back 30 days. They’re really more for rescuing your entire site in the event of a hack attack or user error.
Two of the most popular archive sites are the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and Archive.is. I have used both sites and the process is very similar. You paste the address of your post or page into the appropriate box, click the Save Page button and wait for the site to copy the content (this may take a few seconds). You are then given a URL for the preserved page. For the Wayback Machine, just copy the address as it appears in your browser’s URL box. For Archive.is, click the “share” button on the top of the preserved page and you will be presented with the URL in several formats.
Archive sites are especially useful for writers whose work is published on a variety of sites. Entertainment sites change hands, purge old content or just don’t bother to republish it after a website migration. Backing your articles up using an archive site will make it easier to preserve your work.
I keep an Excel spreadsheet (you can also use Google Sheets) with the URL of my archived posts so that I will be able to call them up in seconds if need be. (I can’t imagine the need to call up a silent movie review in seconds but, hey, you never know.) If you are prolific, this may seem like a pain but it doesn’t take that much time and you’ll soon catch up.
It’s worth noting that some internet archives crawl the web and automatically back up websites. Because these backups can be months apart, you shouldn’t depend on them, particularly if you are a daily blogger, but they can be useful in preserving sites that would otherwise be lost.
For example, The Silents Majority was THE silent film website back in the 1990s and early 2000s but it went down in 2003 or thereabouts. Fortunately, you can read the entire site using the Wayback Machine.
Do you have a favorite archiving site? Where do you save your backups? Be sure to share!
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