Speaker: Ilya Kreymer

Abstract: This talk will present innovative uses of Docker containers, emulators and web archives to allow anyone to experience old web sites using old web browsers, as demonstrated by the Webrecorder and oldweb.today projects. Combining containerization with emulation can provide new techniques in preserving both scholarly and artistic interactive works, and enable obsolete technologies like Flash and Java applets to be accessible today and in the future. The talk will briefly cover the technology and how it can be deployed both locally and in the cloud. Latest research in this area, such as automated preservation of education publishing platforms like Scalar will also be presented. The presentation will include live demos and users will also be invited to try the latest version of oldweb.today and interact with old browsers directly in their browser. The Q&A will help serve to foster a discussion on the potential opportunities and challenges of containerization technology in ‘future-proofing’ interactive web content and software.

My Notes

The presentation focused on how to both create and display archived versions of both websites and web browsers, so that we can emulate the experience of browsing the web for various historical sites. We can recover/preserve flash and java applets in a shareable way. The presentation featured two tools:

This presentation fit into a larger conversation about preservation and ephemerality of the web. Internet sites break over time as browsers and our expectations of the css, php, js, and other code change. These tools use containers to preserve the web, both retroactively and proactively.

The tools fill a gap that we stumbled into at OU when we were playing with archiving over the last couple of years. In terms of ease of use, open source, and broad applicability, the tools seem great. However, there are larger questions about why we would want to preserve things, who decides what to preserve, who owns the copies, etc.