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Why Websites Are Lost (and How They're Sometimes Found)

Frank McCown, Catherine C. Marshall, and Michael L. Nelson


We have surveyed 52 individuals who have "lost" their own personal website (through a hard drive crash, bankrupt ISP, etc.) or tried to recover a lost website that once belonged to someone else. Our survey investigates why websites are lost and how successful individuals have been at recovering them using a variety of methods, including the use of search engine caches and web archives. The findings suggest that personal and third party loss of digital data is likely to continue as methods for backing up data are overlooked or performed incorrectly, and individual behavior is unlikely to change because of the perception that losing digital data is very uncommon and the responsibility of others.


Publication typeArticle
Published inCommunications of the ACM
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