Creating and Sharing Personal Web Archives

Open Data
Location: F150
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As a maintainer for a number of web sites ranging from information sites, blogs, company sites and I am always stunned by the very short lifetime of many links: we all know that cool URIs don’t change but in real life nobody seems to care and many links lifespan don’t extend over more than a few weeks when not a few days!

Maintaining living links is thus a real threat for long living sites whose webmasters or contributors need to find out replacements for broken links when they exist. In some cases whole articles even become pointless when replacements can’t be found and need to be rewritten or suppressed.

The paradox is that although local solutions for this threat are relatively easy to develop, most people ignore them.

Archiving outgoing links is not that hard and if the goal is just to develop personal archives that store a single copy of the outgoing links of a single site the amount of data should remain manageable.

The first part of the presentation will focus on this issue and give examples of such personal archives: a “geeky low tech” one based on the wget utility can be coded in bash while a more user friendly one can be implemented in PHP as a WordPress plugin for the masses.

Even if I am not a lawyer, I’ll briefly mention legal issues and good web citizen practices around web archiving.

And since the magic of the web is its ability to share, I’ll show how personal web archives could be cataloged so that a collective memory of the web could be built by its users rather than in a centralized way.

Photo of Eric van der Vlist

Eric van der Vlist


Eric is an independent consultant and trainer. His domain of expertise include Web development and XML technologies.

He is the creator and main editor of, the main site dedicated to XML technologies in French, the author of the O’Reilly animal books XML Schema and RELAX NG and a member or the ISO DSDL ( working group focused on XML schema languages.

He his based in Paris and you can reach him by mail ( or meet him in one of the many conferences where he presents his projects.