Topic: Permanent URLs don’t exist: Managing, tracking and archiving data in a world (wide web) of badly designed identifiers
Session Lead: Emily Maemura
Time: 2022-11-30, Wednesday, 11 am – 12 pm (CDT)
This presentation will outline some work in progress exploring the URL/URI as a foundational element of web design. Drawing on past work in infrastructure studies, I unpack how the URL plays an important but often invisible role in the web as information infrastructure. I trace the history of the URL as a concept and constructed information object, and consider how the URL’s syntax and structure has been adapted and expanded to meet new information needs since the original RFC proposal in 1994. I then describe several challenges arising from the URL’s lack of in-built version-control or temporal tracking, and how these challenges are being addressed by web archiving initiatives. I conclude with a discussion of implications for the future of URLs, and the evolving nature of the (dark and decentralized) web(s).