A month or so ago, around the time that my friend Laura Secor’s amazing piece on Iranian dissidents came out in the New Yorker, I poked around the web to see if I could find old Lingua Franca articles, including hers. It turns out that many such articles are available, through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Type www.linguafranca.com into the search bar, and you can download the magazine webpage as the archive’s spider captured it on dates between 28 January 1998 and 31 March 2005.
2005 may strike some of you as rather late, given that Lingua Franca ceased publication with its November 2001 issue. In fact the captures after December 2001 are of announcements that the magazine is no more or of the homepage of the rival who purchased its remains (a more triumphalist way of saying the same thing). This could, someday, be a problem. On New Year’s Day, Paul Collins complained, in an aside, that he couldn’t link to an article in the defunct web magazine Suck.com, because “the domain’s owned by a pornster now.” I thought I’d impress him by pulling it out of the Wayback Machine, but I discovered that if the current owner of a domain name doesn’t want the site indexed, none of the content published by the domain’s previous owner is accessible, either. When I checked on New Year’s, the Wayback Machine wouldn’t let me see any of Suck.com‘s old issues.
When I checked today, though, Suck.com seems no longer to be owned by pornsters—or, if they are pornsters, they’re pornsters who are posting old articles from Suck. And Suck is accessible once more through the Wayback Machine. But wait, there’s more. There is, in fact, a mirror of the whole Suck site, available independently at suck.mirror.theinfo.org.
The mirror seems to be the creation of Aaron Swartz, who describes himself as “a teenage writer, hacker, and activist.” He co-authored the specs for RSS feeds when he was just fourteen and has written a lot of other software that goes entirely over my head. More important, in addition to these qualifications, he’s a Lingua Franca fan, and thanks to him there’s now a live web archive for LF at linguafranca.mirror.theinfo.org. (For the completists: Feed is still in the Wayback Machine, under www.feedmag.com, but Swartz’s mirror of it seems to have been undone by a server crash.)