OPF had a good discussion led by the national archives of Sweden in a webinar "A Call to Help: collecting obsolete equipment and playback devices" this morning.

Made me think (with even more conviction) that the "loss" of expertise with older tech is not really a loss at all, it's 1) a misunderstanding of how tech knowledge has always been gained (through time + practice) and 2) an utter failure of search and discovery systems, esp for web archives

tl;dr fewer oral histories with older white men, more protection and leveraging of the considerable resources we already have, more time and space for exploration, troubleshooting and research baked into everyone's jobs, plz

I wrote a blog post on this topic for DPC a couple years back, though in revisiting it I would add something about working *in collaboration and care* with the communities mentioned, as the archivists in Sweden did (and, to their own admission, it required LOTS OF TIME)

also, I should clarify, my issue with web archives is not a shot at any current practitioner or program in any way, shape, or form, but a critique of a heritage system that has and continues to massively underestimate the resources necessary to do what ppl want it to do

@The_BFOOL I agree about 1, but was wondering if you could say more about 2? What is the relationship between web archives and obsolete equipment?

@edsu sure, that made much more sense in the specific context of the Q&A in that webinar. what I'm trying to get at - the repeated sense/experience that extremely helpful information about using older equipment lies in support forums, commercial sites, academic IT pages, hobbyist/enthusiast sites and other precarious sources that are either already only on Wayback or equivalent, or may at any moment slip there

@edsu it's partly an issue with leveraging communal knowledge sources (forums, mailing lists, etc.) into professional education and institutional workflows, whether they're from live web sources or in a web archive. but partly, other than Wayback, little sense of whether anyone is collecting something useful in that area and how I would find it if they were

@edsu this is also not necessarily a discovery issue (you can't find/surface what is not there) but I'm also trying to tug at the same thread you were yesterday re: digital archival efforts and institutions just losing their own content in site rebrands and migration. we've done/talked about all this before! we made workflows and tips with this equipment at the time (when they were new)! people have made resources to try to address knowledge loss before! where did all that go???

@The_BFOOL thanks, I understand what you meant now.

Hmm, if we only had some digital vellum to write all our thoughts down we could just watch Netflix and eat ice cream all day.

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