In June 2011, I was asked by the American Museum of Natural History ( AMNH )
in New York to repair, host and republish my late friend Peter Francis Jr.'s Website www.thebeadsite.com back to where it belonged on the Internet.
Generally acknowledged as the leading bead researcher in the world, he sadly passed away in 2002 whilst on a trip to Ghana. A few months later his collections, research papers and Website were passed over to the the Bead Museum of Arizona.
At that time, I was asked by mutual friends of Peter and myself to convert the Website into a static reference Site and until 2010 voluntarily carried on making small corrections to copyright dates etc. as required. I owe a lifelong debt to Peter who was very helpful back in 2000, when I was creating the online presence of ATB and it was a great honour to be entrusted to help to preserve his Website data and therefore his memory.
However, in 2010 and unbeknown to me, the Bead Museum of Arizona decided to transfer the hosting of Peter's Website to their own server and strangely would not acknowledge any communications from me when the time had came to update the
2011 copyright information and I surprisingly found that I no longer had access to do so.
Thereafter it continued to appear unedited until the demise of the Bead Museum itself later in 2011, when their own Website was taken off the Internet, consequently taking Peter's with it. Learning that his collections and study papers were being handed over
to the AMNH and concerned that Peter's valuable information was no longer available to bead enthusiasts world-wide, I contacted the AMNH and offered my voluntary services, if they were needed, to help to ensure its rapid return and continued Internet presence.
Director Lorann Pendleton not only accepted my offer of assistance, but suggested and organised the whole transfer of Peter's Website to my IT system. However, in transferring between different hosts and editing programs, not only the structure of the Website, but all the page layouts, had become seriously corrupted. Many hours were spent in repairing the current pages .. after having sorted them out from Peter's original and no longer used pages, which he had created in the early days of his Website in the late 1990s.
Later refinements Peter made to the Site meant that he had created new pages to replace his first design layouts, but unfortunately he did not remove them from the Site. Hence 800+ current and old pages were all jumbled up in a corrupted Site structure layout, showing only Peter's mostly unfathomable coded reference page names of letters and numbers to use to try to correctly repair the structure.
Thank goodness the internal page links still worked, although they all had to be replaced at the bottom of every page in an uncorrupted format .. and whilst it was still an honour to be allowed to do it, the repairing, checking and eventual re-publishing of 680 pages .. became somewhat of a week-long nightmare !!
Although the layout has been 'tidied up', the bead information content of Peter's Website has not been changed and still provides a wealth of accurate information on many bead types, patiently assimilated by Peter from his research over many years.
Whilst still interesting, his comments on and references to the 'bead scene' up to 2002 are obviously historically outdated, but very little of his valuable information on beads has become obsolete since he first published it. I understand from Lorann at the AMNH that in the not too distant future they plan to gradually convert many of Peter's research papers into .pdf files and add them to the Website’s content.
Hopefully the resulting display on the Internet ... which in September 2011 was already and very pleasingly at #1 out of 30,200,000 results under "Bead Research" in Google Search ... will continue to benefit bead enthusiasts world-wide
If you haven't already visited it, please do: www.thebeadsite.com.
David @ ATB