TIME

Meet the Geniuses on a Quixotic Quest to Archive the Entire Internet

Contrary to popular belief, the internet is not forever. Our digital heritage needs to be saved.

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Wake up, check your phone. Go to work, log on. Get home, surf the net. The World Wide Web has changed how we interact with the world over the past 25 years. It’s almost hard to believe that it began as a side project to the Large Hadron Collider. Tim Berners-Lee, father of the Internet, came up with the idea to help the physicists organize better, even when they could not physically be at the collider.

But after 25 years and untold numbers of websites, blogs, and browsers, the web is what needs to be organized. While some sites like the Space Jam homepage or DoleKemp96.org have remained embalmed in the ether of the Ethernet since the early days, most sites don’t last that long. Web historians are trying to save our online past, whether it be rebuilding early in-line web browser to run on a modern computer or meticulously archiving page after page.

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