Waterloo man gives old webpages new life
The World Wide Web turned 30 on Tuesday, and a Waterloo man is celebrating by giving old webpages a new purpose.
Most internet archiving is geared towards academics. That’s why Richard Bettridge, a software developer, created TheOldNet.com.
“The original point of this project was that old computers can browse the old internet again,” he explains.
According to an associate history professor at the University of Waterloo, most webpages have a lifespan of about 100 days.
When content is updated, outdated information is lost. Archiving helps preserve that information.
“The internet archive tries to archive as much as it can find, and national archives and universities try to collect information of sort of public interest, something that a historian might be curious about in the future,” explains Ian Milligan.
Bettridge collects vintage computers, but they can’t access new web pages. That makes them useless for surfing the web.
That’s why he created the website.
“TheOldNet.com is a way for regular users to be able to easily access all of this decades-worth of archived content on the internet,” he says.
The site already has nearly 2,700 users, mostly hobbyists and lovers of old technology.
“The most popular things that people tend to find on the websites are old news publications, like what was happening in a particular month many decades ago, video game websites, a lot of people are going to old video game websites, and Geocities homepages,” Bettridge says.
The World Wide Web has transformed over its three decades. Bettridge says the goal for his website is to easily rediscover its past.