One of our Facebook friends shared this fascinating article about the efforts of the French to archive the web. You see, the French have a legal deposit law which mandates that a copy must be preserved of all materials published in France. As of 2006, this law includes websites.
From the article A Memory of Webs Past:
“Illien sees himself as a steward of an ancient tradition; he believes he is helping pioneer a revolution in the way society documents what it does and how it thinks. He points out that since the end of the 19th century, the French National Library has been storing sales catalogs from big department stores, including the famous Galeries Lafayette. “Today,” he says, “this exceptional collection…is the best record we have of how people dressed back then and who was buying what.” One day, he insists, the archives of eBay will be just as valuable. Capturing them, however, is a task that’s very different from anything archivists have ever done.”
Should the US have a similar mandate? Are we doing enough in this country to preserve the documentary history of the internet?