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Archiving question: Attn: Mike Carruth
RandyS
post Mar 6 2017, 11:38 AM
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I haven't been checking here much, with Facebook it's kind of taken a big bite out of the standalone sites but I do still check in once in a while. I wish I would have archived oldschoolbmx.com before I pulled the plug but never even thought of it. There's a huge amount of knowledge and history here so I was wondering if there's a plan to archive this long after we're all gone? I would hate to see all this info that has benefited from todays technology just get deleted at some point. I haven't looked into it at all but it seems like the Library of Congress or someone should be setting up something. I'm asking the same question to Steve and Gary. Thanks.
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RandyS
post Mar 6 2017, 12:23 PM
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And before anyone mentions the Wayback Machine, they're never complete and once a URL expires they dump the archive. It's amusing but worthless
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MikeCarruth
post Mar 6 2017, 09:31 PM
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That's a really good question, Randy. I was just talking about something similar this evening, when I tried to find a video someone posted to Facebook from the Winter Nationals a few weeks ago. I looked on the account of the rider, to before the race, and the video was nowhere to be found.

This is obviously the downside to social media; it isn't set up very well to go back 10 years later (or even 10 days later, in some cases), and find something--unless you run for congress and posted something you shouldn't have. THEN, someone is sure to find it.

In the case of Vintage, we do regularly-scheduled full-site archiving, but the real achilles heel of any website in terms of long term accessibility is the compatibility of the software. If you took a website from 1997 and tried to run it on a modern server version, you would likely have lots of incompatibility and rendering errors. The modern browsers are likely not backwards-compatible that far back either.

That's one of the benefits to print publications--that we can go back to a BMXA from 1978 and read it, just the same as we did when it was on the newsstand (providing it is well-kept in a cool dry environ).

I don't currently have a long-term plan for keeping any of my sites archivally-sound (if that's a word) for decades to come...but I should, as that has always been my intent.

Anxious to hear what you find out from the other administrators.


Best,

M
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vegasoldtimer
post Dec 25 2017, 09:02 AM
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Mike,

Reading this thread and witnessing the dramatic decline in activity on Vintagebmx.com, I'm concerned that this information will be lost forever if some action is not taken. Would you be willing to collaborate with someone to establish a reliable archive for these posts? What do you need to make this happen? Money? If so, how much? While we're on this topic , whatever happened to your re-release of bmxactiononline.com?

Thank you.
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MikeCarruth
post Dec 28 2017, 12:53 AM
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QUOTE (vegasoldtimer @ Dec 25 2017, 09:02 AM) *
Mike,

Reading this thread and witnessing the dramatic decline in activity on Vintagebmx.com, I'm concerned that this information will be lost forever if some action is not taken. Would you be willing to collaborate with someone to establish a reliable archive for these posts? What do you need to make this happen? Money? If so, how much? While we're on this topic , whatever happened to your re-release of bmxactiononline.com?

Thank you.



Thanks for writing.

Every year, I use the week between Christmas and New Year to evaluate what I am going to do for the coming year. It's different than a New year's resolution (which I almost-always abandon by Jan 15). This evaluation ends up with a-couple-pages-worth of items that did not get done, need more attention, or need to be dropped from the program.

The culmination of this work is on New Year's Day, when I set the goals I will follow for the coming year. That ends up with items labeled "critical" or "important." Anything lower than that stays on the list, but only as something to address if/when the other lists are clear (hasn't happened yet).

I mention all this so you get a picture of my process (it may not matter, but there it is, just the same).

For 2018, migrating Vintage to the latest software is already at/near the top of the "critical" list. It will be a painful migration that may not be very elegant in the early days, but all content will be preserved, and I have a solid commitment to get it finished.

To me, there is no question of the value contained in these 1,212,948 posts. It's what social media posts DON'T have--longevity (try finding a comment you posted last week on Facebook. It will be a challenge, at best). Thus, Vintage needs to be preserved.

This site will never be abandoned, nor would I permit its important content to slip under the waves of history.

There is a continuity plan in place in case I get hit by a bus, for all my sites, so the "root" admin user name and password are preserved in the event of my death, along with a "what to do" contingency plan.

VintageBMX and BMX News are both long-standing sites, documenting the sport of BMX Racing (to a lesser-extent, BMX freestyle), and "the hobby" of BMX collecting and restoration.

Even in the era of social media, News enjoys a solid place at the top of the list of BMX websites.

Vintage, while not currently the center of the BMX discussion universe it once was, still welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each month, who come via search or word-of-mouth to page-through all the important content we have here. I am intimately-familiar with those numbers, and what they mean.

The upgrade to new software will enable a new generation of readers and comments on our pages, with social media integration, so it will mark a new era for this site once the transition is complete.

I am grateful for your question, since it affords me the opportunity to share my plans outside the context of some sort of "coming soon" post, which I generally despise.

As for BMX Action Online, I owned the domain name (still do), but I did not own the "BMX Action" logo trademark--it was a limited license, granted to me by Oz for a few years after I acquired the site from Greg Hill in 2009 or so. Without that iconic logo, the name "BMX Action" really doesn't mean much, in my opinion.

I appreciated the opportunity to have the license, but after it expired, it was not really possible to continue, even though I tried to talk myself into it for a few years--hence the "relaunch" position during that time. But I did not want to put anything out that was less-than, especially under that name.

Vintage and News are different, since I own both, in full.

I hope this addresses your concerns. More to come.

Best,

M
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vegasoldtimer
post Dec 29 2017, 08:34 PM
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Mike,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I agree strongly with the points you make about the value of a forum like VintageBMX over social media such as Facebook. I'm glad that you have a plan to preserve the one million-plus posts on Vintage, and I understand this is not an easy task. I appreciate your point about not owning the BMX Action logo, but you do own the posts and information contained therein. Having access to this information (even under a different domain name) would be incredibly useful and incredibly important to people who have followed this industry for most of their lives. Further, it would be important information for researchers (like myself) who believe that BMX has an important history that needs to be explained and documented based upon original sources so that later generations will know that the bicycle once played a much more dominant role in American youth culture. The information contained there is invaluable and does indeed mean very much to individuals and to our industry. In short, I'm making a plea that you consider making available the data that resides in what was once known as "BMXActiononline." Why not house this data within your new Vintage environment?

Sorry for my pesky questions, but this is an important issue without easy answers. I imagine you're probably aware that other people and institutions are wrestling with similar problems of preserving online data? I mention this because I recognize that there are logistical and financial challenges you face in these tasks. Thus, there are grants, resources, and expertise available that may assist you in this process. I would be happy and willing to elaborate further and assist in this process, but but the ball's in your court.

Respectfully,
Vegas
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Pauly
post Apr 5 2018, 03:14 PM
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Good to hear this news. I still remember when an upgrade to the site was done around 2006 and all pre-2006 stuff was lost. Nobody seemed really upset about it and I thought that was odd at the time as I'm sure a backup could have restored it. I guess it's probably too late now eh? lol.
I absolutely hate the Facebook groups. The nice thing about the forums is that when you want to find something from the past it's pretty easy to find it with a search. Facebook posts quickly get buried and unless you're checking in constantly you'll likely miss quite a bit.
I really wish the bmxbid thing would have taken off. I think more promotion/outreach was needed on that one.
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