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 It was "old" or "outdated".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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although the "direct link" to ESLARP through Wikipedia remains broken, you can access ESLARP through the Riverweb site you link on your page on Collins Avenue, right down to the achives of the 1936 Blue Book and Pictoral East St Louis. Just like East Boogie...busted but still functioning!
Thank you for your fascinating update on East St Louis. I am looking forward to your updates on St Louis, assuming you have any time after getting your new job!
Hank Wright