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The Way We Webbed: A Decade of Google -- Oh, the Joy of Cyberpast

Through such projects as the Internet Archives and the LOC's digital preservation program, it's possible to find just about any ancient Web site, as long as you know what you're looking for.

The problem is that we rarely know what we're looking for online. One thing leads us to another, and another -- online, every connection is like a tenuous spider web.

This is why, in Google 2001, you end up skipping around from "Free Winona" T-shirts to warnings that gas prices may skyrocket at the end of the decade. Smart Google!

You search for meaning, wondering whether Brad Pitt's decision to go to Madonna's wedding back in 2000 had anything to do with his marriage failing four years later.

Spend enough time looking at any time capsule, and you inevitably begin to view your own era as if you were an archaeologist peering back at it.

What about Google 2008 will seem out of touch in seven years? What will seem shockingly, eerily pertinent? Will searchers of the Internet Archive in 2015 click on today's CNN.com and cluck thoughtfully? So that's when it all began.

A pertinent e-mail, from the American Association of Museums: In Paris, software developer Marc-Olivier Barnard is building what he calls the "very first Internet Web site Museum," Paleoweb.com, which will launch in November and showcase the evolution of the Internet for future generations.

Unlike the archives you have to search through, "with museums, the best is displayed right there," Barnard says.

Already curated, already organized, just waiting for us to come and discover what it was we once searched for.


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