🐫Betula Archival

This article outlines a vision for a built-in web archival solution in Betula. This might not be what exactly will happen. Just thinking out loud!


Links rot. To prove the point, I took the 900+ URL:s found in my Betula file. I am currently fetching each of them to see how many of them rotted.

If one archives a web page, they no longer depend on the original page to exist. That's a good thing. Less traffic going across the globe is also good.

Prior art

There is the Web Archive.

There is ArchiveBox. It's not really nice to use...

See the archive tag on my Betula for more archival projects.

What to archive?

I see two major approaches:

  1. Save all. A complete copy of the stuff on the page.

  2. Save the essentials. What matters. For a text page, that would be the text itself sans the navigation, advertisements.

Both are complex!

Saving all means saving a lot! My Betula DB currently is half a megabyte for all links. A normal page weighs something about that! Saving the essentials is not easy. How do we determine what is essential? Readability.js, a well-known JavaScript library for getting the essential text from a web page, has around 70 contributors. I will get 3 contributors for that task at best.


What if we make a really simple essential-text-extraction algo that is idk 60 % of time useful. And then we let the human operator edit the produced copy! They could annotate them in whatever way. Fix the errors.

Maybe let them upload attachments? Browsers have PDF-printing now. Maybe upload these prints?

The copies would be private, accessible only to the owner of a given Betula.


I want this all to fit in the single Betula binary! And the archived copies gotta be small for the Betula data file to be portable. Maybe prompt for every image? And then compress them if imagemagick is found on the machine?

Somebody could make a good bachelor thesis out of this.