Back before DAC, I wrote a blog post on the rapid migration of technical information from magazines and catalogs to online-only publication. I addressed the topic from my perspective as a voracious reader of industry news who likes flipping through magazines as a nice break from staring at the screen most of the day. Just for the record, today over lunch I skimmed through the latest hardcopy issues of Information Week, Electronic Design, and MIT’s Spectrum. But my post also addressed a more serious topic: the evanescence of online technical content.
Futurists would have us believe otherwise: online is supposed to be forever. However, many technical sites are hosted by motivated individuals or organizations who may simply decide one day to stop. Other sites are owned by commercial interests, including publishers, who may fold and take their content with them into the void. Yes, there are organizations trying to capture the ongoing history of the Internet but, in my experience, their retention of desired content is inconsistent at best.