Geocities Archive Set to Be Released Online, Protects Digital Heritage
I first started using the Internet back in 1992, whilst at University. Back then it was all about Usenet, and a new thing called “the web” which was emerging. Those brave enough to laboriously hand-code HTML could create websites, but it was not for the feint hearted. Getting server space, a domain name, FTP – these things took some knowledge and as for the art of web design, well, we all remember <blink>don’t we?</blink>
Founded in 1994, Geocities did much to make it easier, and a heck of a lot cheaper, to create and publish websites about your thoughts, interests and pastimes. Acquired by Yahoo in 1999 for $3.57 billion and subsequently closed on October 27th last year, the services boasted 38 million user generated websites. Sure most of them looked pretty bad, worse than MySpace, but Geocities helped millions express themselves for the first time with this new digital medium.
You may have thought all of those websites have been deleted, but the power of the community stepped in. A group of enthusiasts calling themselves the Archive Team set to work with the goal of archiving as many of those old Geocities sites before Yahoo pulled the plug.
That archive was released recently to Bittorrent, clocking in at a mere 625 GB –as a slice of our digital heritage during the early years of the Internet, it’s unparalleled. If you have the bandwidth, and the time, it’s a rich treasure trove of expression that future historians are sure to explore.