No URL Left Behind? Web Scrub Raises Concerns

Michelle R. Davis, Education Week, Sept 26, 2002
Commentary by Stephen Downes

A controversy is brewing over plans by the United States Department of Education to clean up its web site. According to this article, the administration intends to remove thousands of files "and ensure that material on the site meshes with the Bush administration's political philosophy." One area of particular concern is the suggestion that archived ERIC digital digests may be removed. Beyond partisan politics (which appear to influence this article), the central issue here is this: "Just what responsibility do political officials have to preserve the products of those who came before, particularly if their predecessors saw the issues in a different light?" This is an issue that every organization faces, not just the U.S. government. I can understand the need for an administration web site to be current and in line with current political objectives. But the old data should be preserved, preferably on a specifically designed archive website (as opposed to a CD-ROM, which isn't accessible online).
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