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Re: <nettime> Usenet archives sold
S. Kritikos on Mon, 19 Feb 2001 06:16:43 -0800 (PST)

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Re: <nettime> Usenet archives sold

 "S. Kritikos" <metacode {AT} yahoo.com> writes:

--- Ronda Hauben <ronda {AT} ais.org> wrote:
> Can you say more what the 3 different organizations you list are
> and why you suggest that they might be organizations to work with
> on this problem?

>>FSF is of course the GNY project: http://www.gnu.org/

>>GNA is not just about software but recently have expanded in content
>>issues, for example the GNUPedia project.

>>CNRI: Corporation for National Research Initiatives

>>Robert E. Kahn of TCP/IP fame is president.

>>ISTF at http://www.istf.org has been developed from ISOC to deal with
>>societal issues. 

>>For all these organizations databases might be something they are
>>interested in.

Thanks for the information on these. I took a look at the 
url's you gave for two and still need to take a look at the url for 

I didn't see any clear indication however that the organizations
mentioned might be interested in Usenet and its development, especially
its archiving, though it would be good if they were.

Also I looked again at theRegister and saw an article publsihed Feb. 14 
where the reporter spoke to Larry Page CEO of Google and heard from
Larry that Google killed the front end from Deja for the Usenet Archives
because "From my standpoint and responsibility to my shareholders -
the costs of keeping [the Deja UI] Deja running were too high...It 
was possible - everything is possible, but economically it wasn't a 
rational thing to do. There's a reason Google still exists."
from theRegister - see http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/16888.html 

I have tried to contact Larry Page but don't seem to be making
progess at this point.

But it is important to know what has happened. It seems on the 
surface that Google made a deliberate decision *not* to offer
the Usenet Archives online that they got from Deja but instead
used to press announcement to put up their own archives. Somewhere
it seemed they said they would offer more in 90 days, but if they
made a decision not to offer it already because it was too expensive,
one wonders what they will in fact offer in the future.

But more importantly this highlights the discrepancy between
what commercial entities (though Google seems to have originated
from a graduate research program at Stanford under Terry Winograd)
see as the desirable objectives versus what the Usenet or other
online community deems desirable.

And when the CEO's come from the research community the discrepancy
becomes even more important to understand. 

I noticed that when I print a post from google from their limited
Usenet arhives (what they themselves seemed to have saved), I get
a copyright Google notice on the bottom of the post, even though
it is someone else's post.

It seems that the fact Deja was willing to sell the archives to
another company who planned to take it offline (whether permanently
or temporarily) is a sign of the problem that those who care
about Usenet and about the need to foster online collaboration and 
contributions are faced with by the sale of the Usenet Archives
to Google.

ronda {AT} panix.com

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