Reply 40 of 56, by BitWrangler
Yah late 80s to mid 90s a lot of the "online" support was actually BBSs or faxback services, some was on newsgroups, some companies had conferences on compuserve, then it maybe went to FTP, but there were also some Gopher sites around as well. Web support slowly began to take over, but even if it was there in 1997, it had to survive until mid noughties before archive.org got enough disk space to begin to be comprehensive. They had to prioritise, like first it was the top 1000 sites, then the top 10,000, then 100,000 etc as storage expanded. Then still some just had links off to ftp, or a server side scripting system to internal database which can't be archived from http. A lot of the stuff prior to early 90s and half of what was around to mid 90s never actually was online in the first place and it was well into the 2000s we began to see a lot more appear for the first time. I guess the ubiquity of digital cameras and scanners has helped that, rather than being the rarer things they were in the 90s.. also you probably weren't eager to upload a 5MB PDF file over modem, or where would you put it when free web storage might only be a couple of megabytes.
Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.