The internet’s greatest strength is that it is fast and flexible. Unfortunately that quality can also be seen as a weakness. It is very easy to share information online and just as easy to delete it. Sometimes we imagine that the information we rely on in the online environment will always be there.
In fact, nothing online is permanent but there are initiatives to preserve important government specific information published to the internet so that it doesn’t just disappear. One such initiative is the Internet Archive “End of Term” project. Another is the University of Michigan “DataRefuge” project.
The goal of these projects is to engage the academic community in identifying and archiving important factual government information that cannot be harvested via routine web crawling. Ideally the information collected via this effort will be available to researchers for years to come.