Surfing the shores of time

-A A +A
By Roger Snodgrass

Most of the Internet is lost in time.

It’s an amazing information system, most would agree, but for all practical purposes it exists mostly in the present and has a shrouded past.

This simple paradox as it applies to the Internet has been troubling Herbert Van de Sompel for quite awhile.

He’s a computer scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, team leader of research and prototyping in the lab’s Research Library

Working with Michael Nelson, a professor of computer science and a colleague from Old Dominion University, Van de Sompel has decided to do something about this missing time dimension on the Internet.

“Log on to the CNN Web page,” he said in an interview this week. “You can get today’s page, but you can’t get to the previous day’s page.”

That’s because when one types the hypertext transfer protocol, “http://” into the address bar in the computer browser, that computer talks to a server, which is set up to display only the current page.

“You can’t say, give me six months ago,” Van de Sompel said.

Books, letters, monuments, almost any record system one might think of – they almost always have a time or a date somewhere, which gives them a definite time dimension.

If you subscribe to the newspaper, you receive FREE access to all the exclusive content of the web site! Simply register to receive uninterrupted access to our award-winning and in-depth local online content!

Renew Current or Past Subscription / Register for Online Subscription

If you currently subscribe or have subscribed in the past to the Los Alamos Monitor, then simply find your account number on your mailing label and enter it below.

Click the question mark below to see where your account ID appears on your mailing label.

Newspaper Acct. ID:
Street Address:
(exactly as it appears on the label)

If you are a subscriber and you do not know your account ID or don't have a copy of your newspaper available that shows the information on the address label you can click continue below to search for your account.

New Subscription/30 Day Free Trial Account

If you are new to the award winning Los Alamos Monitor and wish to get a subscription or simply gain access to our online content then please enter your ZIP code below and continue to setup your account.

ZIP Code:

Create a limited access account.
Register to participate in community forums, post on the community calendar, blog etc. This registration does not give you full access to read our award winning content, etc.

The Los Alamos Monitor | lacirculation@lamonitor.com | 505-662-4185
256 DP Road, Los Alamos, NM 87544
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday