This Week In Archiving 07/05/2021

This Week In Archiving 07/05/2021

Nexus Mods introduces mandated archiving for long-time storage of game mods, the scramble for unlisted videos rages on and VG preservationists manage to read a rare 2002 e-Reader card!


Shutdowns

Webs logo

Webs, the once popular website host, was expected to shut down after 20 years, at the end of June. Fortunately, Archive Team is on the case, and double fortunately it seems that sites are still up, even today on 5 July. Archive stats available here.

Microsoft’s Codeplex archive was expected to shut down some time in July. I am happy to report that Codeplex has already been fully scanned and Archive Team’s collection is available here.

Unlisted YouTube Video Scramble

With 18 days to go before YouTube forcibly privates old unlisted videos and playlists on July 23 many archiving projects are being run concurrently.

Chart: Unlisted YouTube Video Scramble Status (5 July 2021); link crawlers are on the left, and video/metadata archivers on the right.

There has been much activity on certain subreddits for sniffing out links to unlisted videos. These include r/speedrun and speedrun.com collecting unlisted speedruns, r/nerdfighters backing up unlisted Vlogbrothers content, r/homestuck chasing after fan videos, besides the usual suspects from r/datahoarder.

Our fellow archivist Jopik, recently published his own unlisted video collection on filmot.com. Privately collected from various corners of the internet over the past 2-3 years, this collection contains links and metadata on several million unlisted YouTube videos. Members of Flashpoint and The Eye have taken note of the collection and have began archiving video files of interest.

Finally Archive Team is working on a major project for collecting metadata for unlisted video links on hackint#down-the-tube and a minor project for saving notable videos on hackint#youtubearchive. Some of Archive Team’s unlisted videos are being provided by Sponsorblock which continues to ask users to submit unlisted video URLs.

Forthcoming projects include Omniarchive‘s rush to grab unlisted Minecraft footage and the Distributed YouTube Archive prioritizing a queue of unlisted videos…

Other Updates

The popular modding community Nexus Mods has taken a decision to make permanent archives of all mods hosted on their site. While the decision has been celebrated by web preservationists the world over, it has also drawn ire from some modders who are upset that they have lost the freedom to delete their mods, as reported by Kotaku.

This change is intended to lay the groundwork for Nexus’ upcoming collections system, which will allow modders to combine different mods for the same game. Obviously, if the dependencies of a collection were deleted the entire collection could break, left-pad style. Community manager BigBizkit made it clear that as part of Nexus’ “noble” mission to make modding easier, it was essential that modders be able to build upon previous work.

Let me stress that even without collections in the picture, file deletions and disappearing data constitute a problem and create a development environment that cannot serve as a strong foundation for the future of our platform. 

BigBizkit, An important notice and our future plans for collections

As a compromise for those not fond of the change, modders have a month-long grace period to delete any files/mods that they do not want indefinitely preserved.

Yahoo! Answers might have shut down a couple of months ago, but a substantial portion of a former hallmark of the web was saved. Unfortunately said massive collection is not very human-readable. There are talks on hackint#yahooanswersgraveyard to build a “Yahoo! Answers Archive” search engine akin to the YouTube Community Contributions search tool. Get hyped and stay tuned!

Discoveries

Hit Save! and the e-Reader shared a number of discoveries over the past few weeks. Notably, they managed to acquire a rare 2002 Battle Road trophy card and play it on an e-Reader.

You ask what is a Battle Road trophy card? These “trophies” were awarded at official Pokémon TCG tournaments held across Japan. These cards came in several flavors, with a male/female trainer, with different pokémon in background and even what the winner had placed in the tournament they had earned the card.

Though serving no gameplay effect in the card game, these cards were readable by Nintendo’s now-defunct e-Reader GBA extension. Card Capto- (ahem) Collector Qwachansey was kind enough to send a card he had acquired to the folks at Hit Save, and now for the first time ever you can see the funny little message you got for scanning these trophy cards.

The full blog post has a lot of other interesting details on how the team built a modified e-Reader to be able to capture footage, as well as some other interesting cards they have come into possession of recently. Read about the The Ren-e-ssance for yourself here!

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