Controlling the Lifespan of Your Words

April 2008
by Reid Goldsborough

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Controlling the Lifespan of Your Words

by Reid Goldsborough

When you put up a Web site or blog or participate in Internet discussions, you may think that your words, whether they’re hasty or wise, will gradually fade away over time. But Internet archive systems exist that, in all likelihood, are preserving them long term.

The best-known Web archive service is the Wayback Machine (, part of a larger effort called the Internet Archive ( If you’ve put up a Web site or blog and later had second thoughts and taken it down, chances are it’s preserved through the Wayback Machine.

This free service has been taking snapshots of the Web at various points in time since 1996, with an astonishing 85 billion pages currently archived. Archiving is all about redundancy, and the contents of the Wayback Machine are mirrored, appropriately enough, at the New Library of Alexandria in Egypt, where the original Library of Alexandria, founded by the Greek rulers of Egypt around 300 BC, was designed to be the repository of all the world’s knowledge.

Opting Out of Archives

If you don’t want your words preserved for posterity, the Wayback Machine lets you opt out. The service offers deta…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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