Webrecorder

Has anyone heard of webrecorder.io?

A reader has emailed me to say it is new but better than other archives for interactive and JavaScript-heavy sites.

The website says it is an open-source project by Rhizome at the New Museum, sponsored by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Knight Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

So how to test it.

The other day I ran into a paywall trying to read this NYT article about the Hebrew Israelites, who had a run-in at the Lincoln Memorial with a group from Covington Catholic boys school wearing “Make America Great Again” caps who had been bused into town for the annual anti-abortion march.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/23/us/black-hebrew-israelites-covington-catholic.html.

Usually if I want to read the article bad enough, I just check the Wayback Machine, or save it there myself.  So I tried it with this Webrecorder.

This is the page. Seems like it’s taking forever to save.

While saving it, I got a popup saying I had one article left, and was able to dismiss the message, you can see the remnant at the bottom.

webrecorder capture screenshot

I don’t know if it’s done saving yet, but this should be the link https://webrecorder.io/temp-VDZM7SPL/temp/owkwhfadud6uprl4/record/https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/23/us/black-hebrew-israelites-covington-catholic.html no, it does not work the same as Wayback.

So what is the advantage of using a website that no one has ever heard of and that may be gone tomorrow?

Again the website says:

“Capture websites as a logged in user, then share archived pages without revealing your credentials.”

So you could use a dummy account to access a private forum, then publish it somewhere without revealing your user name?  Maybe you could use it with email, or one of the private mailing lists?  The arbcom mailing list is notoriously leaky, maybe the Wikipediocrazies will induce one of them to anonymously post a link. But I think you can already do all of this with Wayback Machine (archive.org) and archive.is. No word about takedowns either, whether they respond to takedown requests (archive.org does, archive.is does not), so the advantage of this site is still not clear.

UPDATE: Trying to access the saved document from the link just returned an error message, so I’m not sure what the problem is.

webrecorder error message

ANOTHER UPDATE: Okay here’s how it’s supposed to work. You need an account. If it has been less than 90 minutes since you started “recording”, there is a button to log in and save the content. There is on option to make the links private or public, not sure what the difference is, and the links are accessed with your user name. So this is probably not the kind of thing you can use on Wikipedia for link rot, or for bypassing paywalls, but without a tutorial it’s kind of hard to tell how to use it or what the practical applications might be.

It’s supposed to work even when archive.is fails (which I had happen once) so if you have that happen you might want to try this. It also might be useful for suppressed or rev-deleted material when you want to be able to prove to someone without sysop rights what was in the link before it was suppressed.

ALSO: See on Twitter Webrecorder@webrecorder_io ‏ it is being used to archive interactive social media, like Twitter.

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