Monday, October 29, 2007

The Case of the Vanishing Links

In reworking the East St. Louis tour last week, I was disappointed to find that ESLARP had revamped its web site... and in doing so, removed a large and valuable archive of information and photographs, much of it primary sources.

I don't know the reasoning behind the purge, but I can speculate on reasons: the information no longer fit the school's "mission". It was "old" or "outdated". It gave a backwards-looking impression. It consumed valuable server space. An individual student or faculty member left and their server space was deleted.

I hope none of them are right; they're all pretty bad reasons.

But this is why I often hesitate to link to off-site information -- it's so prone to vanishing, whether handled by a corporation, institution, or individual. It leaves me wondering years down the road where I got certain information, and if it's correct at all; I find myself more and more prone to saving copies of entire pages and sites to my hard drive so I can at least re-check my sources. Sometimes it seems that in the rough-and-tumble of the web, the only person you can really rely on is yourself.