With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Internet Historians Mourn Loss Of Cultural Record As Yahoo Prepares To Delete Groups


Yahoo Groups was once a place where people turned to find out what was happening in their communities. Then Facebook, Tumblr and other sites came along, making Yahoo Groups obsolete. So earlier this fall, Verizon, which now owns Yahoo, announced it will delete the archives of every Yahoo Group. That was supposed to happen this coming Saturday, but Verizon just announced it will extend the deadline until next month. NPR's Neda Ulaby reports Internet historians and activists are scrambling.

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: Stephanie Godden sees these archives as an irreplaceable repository of human connection at a time when vast numbers of people first formed groups online.

STEPHANIE GODDEN: Craft groups, groups organized around disabilities, activist groups of various kinds, classroom and education groups, amateur astronomers.

ULABY: And fan fiction writers like Godden. Now she's volunteering with a digital culture nonprofit, the Organization for Transformative Works. Their goal is preserving the archives of Yahoo Groups that give a window into the early days of the Internet. Yahoo started its Groups features in 2001, and by decade's end, there were 10 million groups and more than a hundred million users.

Anirvan Chatterjee has spent all his spare time frantically backing stuff up.

ANIRVAN CHATTERJEE: For me, it was really shocking. It felt like somebody was going into my life, into my history, into my community histories and just hitting the delete button.

Read entire article at NPR