Open an Internet connection. Go to http://www.ibiblio.org and you will find yourself at “the public’s library and digital archive”. They are currently “celebrating their 16th year of freedom”.

I love libraries, and this one is extraordinary.

Their stated purposes include these goals:

  • Expand and improve the distribution of open source software;
  • Continue UNC’s programs to develop an on-line library and archive;
  • Host and foster projects that expand the concepts of transparency and openness into new areas;
  • Create, expand, improve, publish, and distribute research on the open source communities;
  • Expand and improve the creation of and distribution of open source software and documentation;
  • Serve as a model for other open source projects

Ibiblio is worth a thorough examination, and while trying to do that, I had my chance encounter.

On any big site, especially one as full as Ibiblio, you will encounter occasional dead links. A broken link will create a standard code to send back to your browser instead of the expected page. It is called the “404 Page Not Found” error. I have seen many and even caused a few while developing the Web site of King Philip Regional School (former job…now retired and it’s somebody else’s problem!)

Well, I didn’t like to send the simple, standard message seen in the above paragraph, so I tried to let people know what to do if they encountered the inevitable link error.

Now, finally, the chance encounter. Click this link to a page that does NOT EXIST on Ibiblio:

http://www.ibiblio.org/xyxy.html

You get the Ibiblio 404 page. I loved the effort they made to translate the message into language after language, including some dialects of English. You can read some of them without being a foreign language major. I hope the humor matches your tastes.

[[Please note: Don’t go looking for my 404 effort at King Philip. New people have taken over.]]

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