Election 2000 lives on, online

Remember Go Pat Go? Well, Pat is long gone, but his presidential campaign Web site lives on at Election 2000, An Internet Library.

Commissioned by the Library of Congress, this online library features more than 1,000 election-related Web sites, including that of boisterous Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan and his enigmatic running mate, Ezola Foster.

It has the campaign Web sites operated by George W. Bush and Al Gore, of course. And those of Ralph Nader and Harry Browne. It has news Web sites frozen on Nov. 7, Election Day.

In addition, it has archived 75 Democratic Party sites, 61 Republican Party sites, 47 Libertarian Party sites, seven Green Party sites and 14 vote-trading sites. You'll recall the troublesome trend that emerged last fall of using the Internet for auction-style vote selling.

In all, there are 2 terabytes of data—some 87 million pages of online election material—gathered from Aug. 1, 2000, to Jan 21, 2001. They're at the Internet address archive0.alexa.com/collections/e2k.html.

The library was compiled by Alexa Internet, a San Francisco company that creates massive digital collections of Web sites and other Internet information. Alexa created a "time browser" it calls a Wayback Machine that enables visitors to the election library site to "retrieve Web sites out of the past," adding "a time dimension to the Internet," according to Brewster Kahle, Alexa president.

For now, it's possible to search the library by entering a Web address such as www.georgewbush.com or www.gorelieberman.com, or to search specific sites by date, down to the hour and second. Eventually it also will be possible to search for information by text and keywords, according to Alexa Internet.

Alexa worked with Compaq Computer Corp. and the Internet Archive (www.archive.org), a nonprofit organization that develops Internet libraries, to create Election 2000. Compaq took on the task of crawling hundreds of political Web sites each day to gather material for the library. Capturing images, videos and computer scripts on the sites required the company to develop specialized technology, Kahle said.

The online library is intended to give researchers, historians, scholars and the public free, permanent access to a digital record of the 2000 presidential election. The site displays the famous quote from philosopher George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

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