Geert Lovink on Sun, 1 Mar 1998 07:53:19 +0100 (MET)

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<nettime> Blast the Bots - Praise the Databases (5URLs)

Blast the Bots - Praise the Databases
Five URLs from Geert Lovink


This time no fancy imagery. I am an ascci text addict and love databases. 
For me, they are the core and the very essence of computer networks, if we
leave the day to day communication via e-mail apart. In contrast to the
popular myths about the Internet, only very few people are truely
dedicated to the building up of public and free archives. Don't believe
the hype about 'collective intelligence' and the Net as a 'global brain'. 
These are the lies of our times. Most of the information available on-line
will disappear in a few months or years. If stored and properly archived,
it is most likely that we will have to pay a lot to get access to the
corporate archives of the future. Freely accessible databases are the
centre of the fight for public content. One of the heroes in this fight is
Gert van Velzen (, a digital storage maniac since the late
eighties who is dedicating all his time to the archiving of all sorts of
information from political movements. At this site you can find the famous
newsgroup '', the mailinglist for an 'Other
Europe' and the archive of the political provider 


The etext archives (est. 1992) are home to electronic texts of all kinds,
from the sacred to the profane, from the political to the personal. 'Our
duty is to provide electronic versions of texts without judging their
content.' Hunderds of zines have their e-archive here, texts about the
Goddess Abiraami, etext carries a mirror of the Digital Computer
Underground Digest (CuD), archives of the European Counter Network
(activism) and the text archives from 'Arm The Spirit', the egoist e-zine
'Non.Serviam' (dedicated to Max Stirner), 'zigzag' (anti-marxist),
'Somalia.News.Update' and various legal and philosophical documents. The
etext archives still operate entirely on volunteer labor and equipment.
If you have time, skills, equipment or money that you wish to contribute,
please contact:


I am not a fan of New Age, so it is not likely that I would visit the site
of some Canadian taoists. But is different stuff. Behind categories
like 'earth', 'mountain' and 'fire' one can find information about the
International Forum for Indenpendant Media, The Anarchives, the booklist
of The Freedom Press or the hackers zine Phrack. Here you can also find
the activities of the Toronto-based 'Media Collective', who have been
involved in the protests against the World Bank's conference 'Global
Knowledge'. You can choose between 'ying' (low bandwidth) and 'yang' (high
bandwidth), with pages under 'constant evolution'. But who cares? This is
superior content for all those involved in direct action.


Search engines like hotbot or altavista remain unprecise for the time
being.  A solution for the random data trash are the search engines
attached to specific web archives, in this case our mailinglist for 'net
criticism'. Many who do not like to be subscribed to a list, are
peeping into the latest postings, look for specific threads or
keywords and authors. New mailinglists like 'xchange' (real-audio-radio
projects) or 'recode' (for Australia and Asia-Pacific region) now have a
web archive from the very start. 


It took me a while to find this URL. This is a screen dump of the first
interface of the Digital City in Amsterdam. Until october 1994 dds ran as
a gopher system, without a graphic interface. It is part of a collection
of screens, images and text archives of newsgroup, maintained by the
'archeological department' of dds. In January 1996, dds held a 'freeze'
action in which the entire system was stored on tape. The Digital City now
has almost 70.000 regular users, many of them new. Can a complex system
like this, with such a variety of individuals and small groups of users
develop a sense of history? With a city archive and its own cemetery, the
Digital City at least gives it try. You can even see video images
of the start of the project, back in January 1994, look with your Real
Player at:

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