Announcing: OTW’s GeoCities Rescue Project

As we reported earlier this year, GeoCities, which hosts many fannish resource pages and archives, announced that it will be closing down at the end of the year. They’ve now announced a more specific date: October 26, 2009.

In response, the Open Doors Committee of the OTW would like to announce our GeoCities Rescue Project.

If you are the owner of a fanfiction archive or resource, meta or other fannish page on GeoCities and you are looking to house your fiction or other content, the OTW can help! Open Doors is teaming up with the Archive of Our Own and Fanlore to preserve as much material as possible.

Fanfiction: We’re offering AO3 beta accounts to fanfiction authors currently hosted on GeoCities –both single author and multiple author archives are welcome–so that you may preserve your fiction. If you are not the author, owner or site administrator, you can still document and memorialize parts of a fanfiction site on Fanlore, but we need an authorized person for an AO3 account. Contact Open Doors for more information!

Resource sites: If you are the owner of a fannish resource site, we recommend a page in Fanlore with a summary of the information and purpose of the site along with screencaps of the entry page and/or other key pages to convey the feeling of the site. We have volunteers who can help you set up a Fanlore page documenting both the content and feel of a GeoCities page. Even non-owners of a resource site can document and memorialize a site on Fanlore. Contact Open Doors for help or for more information!

For either a fic or a resource site, please include the URL of the site you wish to archive/preserve, and an email address. If you are the administrator of a multi-author site, please include email addresses for each hosted author (if possible).

17 thoughts on “Announcing: OTW’s GeoCities Rescue Project

  1. I have been pimping it all over my clex fandom 😀
    coz that’s the place where I started my fannish life, and where I still have the most geocities URLs of the web1.0 era saved 😀

    1. Yes, please do pimp far and wide! And if you see a resource page or something, you can save it yourself!!!

  2. Hi,

    The Savage Garden fandom risks losing the works of one writer (that I know of for certain) and possibly more authors who have not been contactable for years. Would you be willing to archive these works without author permission given the circumstances? The writer I am thinking of was well-known among fans and is widely regarded as one of the best in the fandom.

    Please let me know! We are very troubled b/c this fandom was small to begin with and has already lost too many fics due to websites and people going MIA.

    Thanks!

    Am 🙂

    1. I’m not part of the Rescue project, but one backup option could be to put up a Fanlore page about the site and/or the author, including the current URL and if possible running the URL through the Wayback Machine to get a working Wayback link as well. That way no one is potentially stepping on toes by re-archiving work without permission, but the fandom won’t completely lose track of it, either. And the page with the links will be safely in a space that isn’t controlled by one person, so the risk of losing them goes way down.

      You could even put in direct links to particularly notable stories, to keep those stories more in the public eye. 🙂

    2. Unfortunately, we really can’t archive works where nobody is contactable, especially when so many others are seeking hosting (or willing to give consent). But I–or someone on the wiki committee–can help you create a page for this writer on Fanlore that a) screencaps parts of the site, b) lists all her works and stories by name, c) has urls to the Wayback machine links to the stories, etc. Please use the Open Doors contact form and give us the Geocities Url, and we’ll try to at least do something!

    3. I do not think, that OTW would archive any sites completely without permission.

      If you are really deemed that work of that site or author to be really worth and important, and the site is still functioning, you could always save all fics to your harddrive, and I think, if you are willing sharing the fics among newbies of your fandom via email, no one could or would object to that practice (unless that author is reappearing, and is objecting, at which point it is up to your conscience, if you go along with the authors wishes, or ignore them).

      1. I’ve been working on archiving all GeoCities material related to Forever Knight. We’ve been using the following reasoning.

        1. Some sites, though technically (and no doubt legally) owned by an individual, really belong to the entire fandom: for FK, this applies to War sites. Others belong to subgroups within the fandom: for FK, this applies to faction sites. They may not be active, and their owners may long since have departed; but it is appropriate to save them in their entirety.

        We also archive personal sites, especially those with fan fiction/artwork. Our reasoning is thus: if it is essentially an FK site, then it was made by a fan for other fans, and–to a very real degree–was given by her to the fandom. We are therefore saving the site on behalf of its collective recipient. Would the owner not want us to take good care of her gift? Would she want us to let it be thrown out?

        However, if there is extensive personal material (as opposed to a “How I joined the fandom” page), then we delink it. It’s there if the owner ever wants it; but it’s not accessible to anyone else.

        2. We do not normally strip sites of material (e.g. saving just the fic pages, or just the art). That’s okay if you’re doing it for yourself, just on your own computer. But we are reposting to the Web. We feel that it is important to save the owner’s original matrix for these works: the graphics and layout are an integral part of the site. If we repackaged things, we would–so to speak–be claiming the right to have input into the presentation. As a general rule, we save the whole site.

        We *do* edit pages so that they will run properly off GeoCities. Provided we can locate it, we also put back material that has accidentally been dead-linked because of a typo. (Yes, you can often locate stories and screen captures that should–but don’t–link to the page, provided they’re still stored on the server.)

        3. We do not consider the site to have changed ownership: it’s still theirs. (And we do try to contact people wherever possible.) We consider that we are just moving it to a different address–one that isn’t about to disappear in mid October. We do not feel that we have the luxury of time. Save now–take down later, if requested. Saving later isn’t an option.

  3. Thank you so much for this – I was dreading losing all the html and file versions of my stories.

    1. Just send the Open Doors committee your Geocities Url and we can get the ball rolling!

  4. There isn’t any interest in providing a “home” for fanfics that were wiped out when AOL deleted all its personal web pages last fall, is there? It’s a bit too late to “rescue” anything that was hosted on AOL, but that too was once a thriving fanfic hub, and who knows whether authors have found a place to put all their stuff back up or not. There’d be no use in just providing URLs–writers would have to gather everything back together and put it up one story at a time.

    A bit of a mess–and an argument for dealing with GeoCities *before* everything gets “baleeted”–but I thought I’d ask.

    1. I wasn’t aware of this, and man–yeah, if we’d known, we might have tried (though the archive was very very new and wobbly last fall: I don’t know that we could’ve handled even the limited additional influx.) I CAN say that we’re going to be coming out of Closed Beta into Open Beta pretty soon, whereupon we’ll be rapidly expanding our beta accounts just naturally: we just wanted to do this Geocities thing because I’m not sure where the open beta date will fall vis a vis October 26, and we didn’t want to risk it! But we can maybe schedule a reach out to dislocated fans–or priority for dislocated fans!–at that time!

  5. I think that nearly everything I had on the site is recoverable in one way or another, it would just take some work.

  6. I found yet another person who has their whole archive on Geocities, and I’m giving her a link to this page. But it would be great if there was some kind of automation or help with transferring her fics to AO3. Help?

    1. We don’t have the capacity to automate the transfer yet, but we can talk archivists through the process.

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