Another chunk of Dan Gillmor's eJournal

A while ago I was reading Scott Rosenberg’s history of blogging, which claims that the archives of Dan Gillmor’s eJournal, an influential early blog that ran between 1999 and 2004, have been lost beyond any hope of recovery. I knew they weren’t lost, as I’d seen some of the posts in the Internet Archive, so I got digging and posted my findings.

Dan was happy. He asked Pete Kaminski to recover the data and reinstate it on Bayosphere.com. In his recent book, Dan also wrote up the episode as a cautionary tale about keeping backups.

There are gaps in the recovered eJournal archives, however, and I’ve just come across the data of a fairly big chunk that’s been missing. It seems to be happily preserved in the Internet Archive as well.

Earlier today I happened to be poking around the Metafilter archives looking at a post from 2002 on rewriting history in real time, which links to an eJournal piece of Dan’s. Acting on a whim, I plugged the URL of Dan’s piece into the Internet Archive: Journalistic Pivot Points. It’s a short post in which Dan gets excited about having a factual error in a blog post corrected by a reader nearly in real time.

I wondered if Pete had managed to salvage this piece when he reconstructed Dan’s eJournal, and a quick check indicated that he had not.

Which is a pity as this was a fairly popular post and still has a few dozen inlinks from across the web (use Yahoo for this sort of query, as Google’s “link:” operator doesn’t return matches for lapsed URLs).

So: re-checking my original post, I noticed that the eJournal data I’d spotted had a big gap in 2002. A glance at the monthly archives referenced in Dan’s sidebar showed that Pete hadn’t managed to recover any of the data from that period either. Yet the Journalistic Pivot Points post dates from 27 March 2002, which is right inside the missing period.

Was there any chance anything else might have survived from that period?

I followed the trail of breadcrumbs up one step and got to this overview page, which sports a number of archival links to perfectly well-preserved posts:

Okay, cool. It stops in September 2002, though.

This overview page takes us to the end of November 2002, and a few spot checks indicate that the links are fine. Another overview page takes us to the end of December.

I haven’t looked very closely, but from a distance it seems like this data might stop the whole gap of 2002 in the eJournal archives.

Pete, are you going to don your text miner’s hard hat again?

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