Even if a website is no longer updated, there are security costs or security gaps. Although it has no new content, it still contains important information. How can you solve this problem? The only solution is to turn it off forever? No, there is a service that allows you to maintain the locations without having to maintain all of the infrastructure (like servers and power), leaving only your active domain. This service is called Memorial do Arquivo.pt and already has 40 locations. All can be consulted as if they were still alive, and there is even a chance to revive them someday. If you want to preserve an ancient site, just contact Memorial do Arquivo.pt.
This monument of ancient sites is part of Arquivo.pt, a service that keeps information from the Portuguese internet for future reference. There you can travel back in time to these pages that have been created since 1996. The Memorial, on the other hand, was started mainly because of security issues being identified with websites that were no longer being updated and the owners were reluctant to disconnect.
“When the websites of projects that no longer have continuity are no longer updated due to a lack of human or financial resources, they don’t just emit electricity and carbon [dióxido de carbono] You are also exposed to security vulnerabilities that are exploited because there are no more software updates, ”explains João Gomes, Director of Advanced Services at the Foundation for National Scientific Computing (FCCN), a unit of the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) ). Then there was still the difficult decision of having to shut down a website.
The monument was the solution to these problems. It then creates a high quality collection of websites that are no longer updated: first with robots and then with human curatoriality. In this process, you always interact with the website owners. In the end, the connection is disconnected and the domain (which is active) is forwarded to the monument. From here, all the owners have to do is guarantee to renew the domain, but they can turn off the machines and no longer have to pay for the space for housing or maintenance. This page is searchable in all search engines and is forwarded to the memorial. “People then browse the site like they did in the previous version, go through the different pages, gather information, or view videos and photos. Everything as if they were on the live site, ”describes João Gomes.
If you have a website that is no longer updated and would like to keep it, simply contact the team via the Arquivo.pt website. This service is free of charge. “Maybe we can charge private companies in the future, but it’s always free for public companies,” says the director of Advanced Services. The amount that can be billed helps the project, like buying a lot of storage space for archiving these websites. “Arquivo.pt is a big consumer of storage space and we buy more hard drive cabinets every year. The web is constantly growing! “
After a pilot project, the monument was officially opened in summer 2020. It already has 40 locations and others are being collected. This service includes, for example, the websites for National Sea Day 2006, the NATO summit in Lisbon in 2010 or the Department of Finance’s IT Institute, which no longer exists. On the question of whether there is still a certain lack of knowledge about the monument, João Gomes says that “the project is still being evangelized” and the project will be published.
Former website of the extinct Institute for Computer Science of the Ministry of Finance DR
In the memorial there is always the possibility of reviving the sites that have been preserved there. When a website is not updated – and this often happens in government projects – there is a “security hole”. The team then collects it, turns it off, and when the project is revived, they can reactivate the site. “It is a solution, because otherwise you would have to cut the connection completely,” emphasizes João Gomes. The site is therefore in “hibernation”. “Owners can always revive it. We don’t want any security gaps. “
Why is all of this so important besides the reasons mentioned? “In the age of the web, never before has so much information been generated, but never has so much been lost,” replies João Gomes. When a book or newspaper is published, it is placed in a legal deposit. The same thing can be done (in a different way) with websites. The information contained therein can then be examined by scientists in future studies.
Now the monument’s biggest goal is to make it better known and get the largest number of websites in this service. With Arquivo.pt the acquisition capacity is to be improved and an image search service is to be started. Applications for the Arquivo.pt Prize are also possible until May 4th. The first prize is 10,000 euros and PUBLIC is the media partner. The contributions must be practical applications or studies based on information accessible through this service.
João Gomes, Director of Advanced Services at the National Scientific Computing Foundation Nuno Ferreira Santos
The memorial also has a better collection capacity. “Over time and the browser, it is always a challenge to always change the website and display it as it was,” emphasizes João Gomes. “We want those who browse them to experience the collection experience as if the site were alive. In 20 years we will have to have the same experience with other browsers and technologies. “
Due to the fact that the website stays alive, João Gomes says they don’t name Memorial Cemetery, which, by the way, was the first name suggested for the project. “It was a bit of a morbid name and the one who goes to the cemetery died, but [os sites] stay alive and advisable. “And there is a possibility of returning someday – who knows – to live alone.