web recorder, heal thyself

So, Rhizome.org recently announced it had been awarded a $600,000 grant to develop a "web recorder" that essentially does what the Internet Archive "wayback machine" already does. Our old friends at ArtFCity breathlessly and uncritically reported this development, so here is the critical, huffing-and-puffing version:

Just before it won the $600,000, Rhizome did a site redesign that broke much of its own content. Using webrecorder (beta version) I've been submitting reports of Rhizome page URLs that have missing text and/or formatting. One of these was fixed after I submitted a bug report. (I've also sent some emails -- they are aware of these issues but fixing historic content is clearly on the back burner as they forge ahead with new projects.)

Here's another example, Ed Halter's squib on the so-called "Rematerialization of Art," from 2008, which touched off some extensive commenting by yours truly and others. Ironically, this page can be viewed correctly on the Wayback Machine at https://web.archive.org/web/20080517165715/http://rhizome.org/editorial/fp/blog.php/590 but on Rhizome Halter's text has gone missing. The comments are there but they make little sense without showing what they are reacting to.

The same thing happened four years ago when Rhizome did a top-to-bottom site overhaul. Eventually most of the problems were identified and fixed, just in time for the current site overhaul, where everything was broken again. It's obvious where the $600,000 needs to be spent.

Update: The content of the Halter post has been restored. Next post in need of rescuscitation: http://rhizome.org/editorial/2008/apr/08/brush-off/ (also missing text by Halter).