t byfield on Mon, 15 May 2000 08:15:38 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Re: (protocol) Re: Histories

twhid@spacelab.net (Sun 05/14/00 at 02:15 PM -0400):

> could the administrators of these lists post some comments on their 
> long-term plans for archival of the texts? how many back-ups are on 
> how many servers? are there foundations with a mission to preserve 
> them? if not, perhaps rhizome, thing, nettime could create one, or 
> band together to lobby for international funding for one?
> or point us to the public policies you have posted.

interesting questions.

as for nettime: there's a complete archive on nettime.org
(köln); another (i'm not sure how complete) at tao.ca, in
toronto, courtesy of jesse hirsch et al.; and another one,
much less complete, at The Thing (NYC); and, at least for
a while, there was a clone of the complete nettime one at
o-o.lt, in lithuania (?). but these are only the publicly 
available archives (of which there may be more i've never
heard of); there are also private ones--mine goes back to
12/95, and is missing only the first ~30 messages sent to
'nettime-l' (there were earlier channels and ur-correspon-
dence). if for some reason all these public archives were
to vanish, i expect a few people would put some up on the
web, however piecemeal. (an excellent example is the more
or less complete reconstruction of the first 'cypherpunks'
list cobbled together from various partial archives.)

and then there are nettime's paper publications: ZKP 1, 2,
3, 3.2.1, 4, _README!_, and (in part) the NATO/FYU isssue
of arkzin/bastard, some of which included floppy versions
of their content. the impetus behind this series of publi-
cations was to make a 'networked discourse' available off-
line; but one consequence was to make them available in a
form not susceptible to the failures of electronic media.

note that the nettime.org archive includes 'raw' files of 
the traffic going back to 11/95: if you really care about
the long-term viability of the archives feel free to suck
the files down and archive them yourself. once FreeNet is
up and running in a meaningful sense, i'll run a node and
make the files available in that way--as an 'eternity ser-
vice.' i hope others do too, but the essence of these sys-
tems is establishing open and contingent technical setups
and seeing what happens. nettime is a 'collaborative text
filtering project': it may be that the logic that governs
such an arrangement will filter nettime, or subsets of it,
into oblivion.

as to your questions about foundations, and various lists
banding together to start one, my own response is: blecch.

in my experience, nettime functions best, for all my skep-
ticism about this idea, as a 'gift economy.' that was the
basis on which desk.nl supported it; when their technical
problems became too severe i moved it to my own material.-
net; but that wasn't an adequate long-term solution for a
lot of reasons (a cranky server sitting behind a 56k isdn
line that was dedicated only because the ISP didn't care),
so we asked wolfgang staehle if he'd give the list a home
at The Thing for free and he said yes. in that regard the
list's existence is parasitic, much as nettime's meetings
have piggybacked on other conferences--the only exception
being Beauty and the East in ljubljana, which was support-
ed by ljudmila (for those who don't know: LJUbljana Digit-
al Media Lab--vuk cosic, luka frelih, marko peljhan, iren-
a wölle, mitja doma, and more).

to institutionalize nettime in a legal or economic format 
would be fatal. the efforts to produce print publications 
have been increasingly traumatic; and the efforts to push
'top-down' campaigns under the name 'nettime' were a mess.
the fact that certain lists--nettime, rhizome, 7-11, amer-
ican express, syndicate, recode, xchange, rohrpost, inter-
nodium, the list could go on--had and/or have certain com-
monalities doesn't mean that a consortium is desirable or
even possible. the strength of these entities, individual-
ly and collectively, stems from the fact that they're NET-
WORKS: part participants, part technical system, and part
something else about which very little is understood, imo, 
and even this on a heuristic basis. in a way, the network
is a new species, and many if not all of the problems net-
time has seen--abortive efforts to hijack it, the complex-
ities of organizing it in order to move to a 'higher' lev-
el, para/neo/quasi/post-paranoiac fantasies about control
and cabals--are byproducts of the inability to grasp what
networks are and how they function. 

but to get back to your initial questions, they *do* func-
tion through distribution--which (thus far) seems like an
unbeatable archival technique. thus far: we'll see how it
pans out in the long term.

nettime's 'policy' about archiving? DIY. we maintain this
list in the here and now *for free*; if you'd like to pre-
serve it for another time and place, then Be My Guest. my
advice: trust the network. don't try to transform it into
something it isn't.


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