Weekly Summary 01/20/2020

Weekly Summary 01/20/2020

This will be our very first weekly summary, part of a series where we talk about recent developments in the archiving community. Since this is our first one, we’re going to keep the timeframe a bit wider than just a week.

So to kick things off, let’s start with the single event that gave internet archiving the most publicity it’s received in quite a bit: the Yahoo! Groups shutdown panic.

Yahoo! Groups was a combination of a mailing list and web forum. Many communities (particularly fandoms) were frequent users it in its hay day. On October 16th of 2019, Yahoo announced that after 12 days content uploads to the site would be disabled and that in less than a month the site would be going down.

Immediately, archivists and community members began sharing lists of important public groups and people sprung right into action! Unfortunately a lot of precautions were being taken against the archiving efforts, such as a ban on Archive Team members who’d made accounts in order to mass-download data from the groups. This however generated a lot of backlash, receiving coverage on Motherboard, npr and even in the Washington Post.

A rarity for this sort of thing, these efforts culminated in getting Yahoo to extend its deadlines to give people a more reasonable amount of time:

We have extended the deadline for Yahoo Groups and will now process ALL requests to download data that are submitted before 11:59 PM PT on Jan 31, 2020 (originally Dec 14). As long as the request meets this deadline, the content will not be deleted until the download is complete.

— Yahoo Customer Care (@YahooCare) December 10, 2019

Archiving efforts are still ongoing and Archive Team’s project tracker currently reports about 2830 GB’s of data to have been backed up, be sure to check the Archive Team page for more details. We also plan to do a a feature or two on the whole ordeal ourself, hopefully in the coming days.

Closing things from last year BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint and Lost Media Wiki both posted their end of year updates…

Ben Latimore

The ominously named Flashpoint 7.0 “Eight Thousand Hours” was released, in reference to the approximate amount of hours remaining until the discontinuation of Adobe Flash Player, although the amount of time remaining as of this post is perhaps closer to 7200 hours. The project for preserving online games, animations etc. made with flash is still ongoing and you should definitely check https://bluemaxima.org/flashpoint/ where you can find a lot more information as well as a link to their Discord. 7.0 features over 8000 new games.

Fun fact: Did you know that there was actually a scrapped Toy Story movie?

It was going to involve Andy’s toys going to Taiwan to get a malfunctioning Buzz repaired. A draft for the script was among the found media featured in Lost Media Wiki’s last noticeboard for the year. Other interesting items include the final episode of The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour, a Japan exclusive (20 year-old) DLC for Sonic Adventure and three episodes from a puppet show called “Binyah Binyah!” with a very short run on Nick Jr.

As we enter into into 202X, we have some signs that archiving frequency and awareness have gone up. Recently Brewster Kahle tweeted an impressive statistic on Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine:

Wayback Machine just grew to 881,352,519,000 web URL’s. That is 881 Billion. For every one that becomes important in the news or in someones personal world, we crawl and store millions of others just-in-case. go @internetarchive

— Brewster Kahle (@brewster_kahle) January 10, 2020

On the subject of Tweets, archive.is a popular choice for archiving “Web 2.0” sites by also saving graphical copies, without having to change to a lighter layout. This makes it an alternative to the Wayback Machine in some regards. It’s especially become popular for archiving Twitter and Reddit threads for its “saving things as is” reputation.

However a couple of weeks ago users began to notice that they weren’t able to save certain Twitter pages and a somewhat humorous exchange took place on the archive.is blog:

Finally let’s talk a bit about TV news archiving. For our US readers, Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project has recently began screening. It’s a documentary on the story of a TV producer/activist who built up over the course of 33 years one of the largest TV news recording collections to date, starting in the midst of the 1979 Iranian Hostage and ending at around the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project Trailer from Matt Wolf on Vimeo

The documentary was directed by Matt Wolf and premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
You might be able to catch it this week in San Francisco, Asheville or Washington. Check out their website for more details.

Following Stokes’ passing, the collection was donated by her son to the Internet Archive, who’ve since been working on its digitization so it can be accessible to all. This is a great time to check out the TV News archives which have been a bit more overshadowed compared to website and book archives on the same site.

Showcasing the worth of these archives the GDELT project recently made a tool utilizing the Internet Archive’s Third Eye API.

As a first hack at using @kalevleetaru‘s new Chyron Explorer tool for @TVNewsArchive https://t.co/Hj2Wznezo4
I looked at differential sample word usage in all-news networks. CNN prefers “terror” in their Chyrons more than FOX, and FOX uses “terrorist” more than CNN pic.twitter.com/nQX5AvHydJ

— R Macdonald (@r_macdonald) January 7, 2020

What are chyrons? The bits of motionless text you see at the bottom of your screen often accompanied with an emphatic “Breaking News”. The tool which was endorsed by the Internet Archive’s own Roger MacDonald allows people to query various metrics on chyrons, such as word frequency.

And thus that brings us to end of this week’s summary. I hope this was an enjoyable read for you all, if anything I can feel good about having taught people what on earth a Chyron is.

Stay tuned for next week’s summary, where we’ll hopefully see each other again same time next week at EST 9 AM!

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