Web 2.0 – Do you trust online sites to protect your data?

Per the web site Planet Code4lib, the entire code4lib.org websites have been rendered unavailable. Here is what was said: NOTICE: The other code4lib.org web sites, and everything else hosted on anvil.lisforge.net, are unavailable. The server was hacked on 21 July 2007 and will be restored in a week or so. Join #code4lib on irc.freenode.net if you need to know more.

I found that out when I tried to follow a link on Technosophia about a post on Library Web Chic about a post on code4lib regarding an MLS degree for library technology postings. Since this is something I have some opinions on and am thinking about for a post, I was very interested in what others had to say. But when I tried to access code4lib.org, the site (and all related sites) were completely down.

Oddly enough, I had also tried to access the site earlier to see what Code4lib conferences were coming up and could not access the site but did not realize the problem until I saw the announcement on Planet Code4lib.

I know what a wealth of Web 2.0 information and collaboration is on that site. This is an interesting test of what happens when something like this happens. Hopefully code4lib has good backups. But what is to guarantee that this site, or any other sites, are able to restore the data the people have entrusted with them?

Are we carefully considering where we put our faith and our important data? Do you know what the backup capabilities are of places where you have your online data? If you host the data yourself, obviously you are responsible for it. But what about all the sites that host data for other people? There are many of them and I’m sure we all use and put our faith in several of them each day.

What if WordPress.com crashed and the data could not be recovered? What impact would that have on everyone? I use Yahoo! mail and there have been a few times that it has been unavailable for several hours (even up to a day or so) and I was really, truly messed up. I had appointments with people and people I needed to contact and all their contact information and arrangements we had made were trapped in my Yahoo! account that I could not access. I was sweating bullets hoping it would come back up before I missed an appointment or something important that someone emailed me.

Granted, it is my responsibility to keep my important data, but how many people don’t think of that until it is too late? People are learning and exploring and using the new Web2.0 technology, but is it growing faster and more wildly than can be sustained? Do people even think about things like this? Should they?

~Susan Mellott

Becky Carleton, a librarian at the Johnson County Library in Kansas challenged me to name ten pieces

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