The pre-1994 Internet

Just posted this on Doc Searls blog. This is a complaint of many, the pre-1994 dearth of materials on the web. It’s such a shame because so much of that information is already out there, just locked behind stupid walls and not properly indexed.

Another growing problem is the reordering of Google to reflect ‘new content first’. For example, I was doing some research on President Clinton’s attacks on the privacy of Americans. I specifically recall when I worked on Capitol Hill saying to myself when one of these bills passed ‘if the US ever goes Orwellian it will be these bills people look back on as laying the groundwork’. Unfortunately, as we have moved more and more toward the always observed society, I wanted to do some research back to that anecdote from pre-1994 and did some Google searching. Not only was there a lack of information about the bill that passed, but new stories about Hillary Clinton and her views on the Patriot Act / privacy / security etc. took the first 10 pages or so of Google more or less. You know one place to start in cataloging the old stuff would be the ‘morgues’ of dead newspapers. For example, the ‘morgue’ of the Washington Star newspaper sits in dusty file cabinet after file cabinet in the MLK Public Library in downtown DC.

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