Jason Scott

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Jason Scott
Jason Scott (2017 Portrait).jpg
Scott in 2017
Jason Scott Sadofsky

(1970-09-13) September 13, 1970 (age 49)
Hopewell Junction, New York, USA
Nationality United States
Known for Archivist and historian of technology, performer, internet personality

Jason Scott Sadofsky (born September 13, 1970), more commonly known as Jason Scott, is an American archivist, historian of technology, filmmaker, performer, and actor. Scott has been known by the online pseudonyms Sketch, SketchCow, The Slipped Disk, and textfiles. He has been called "figurehead of the digital archiving world".[1]

He is the creator, owner and maintainer of textfiles.com, a web site which archives files from historic bulletin board systems. He is the creator of a 2005 documentary film about BBSes, BBS: The Documentary,[2] and a 2010 documentary film about interactive fiction, GET LAMP.[3][4]

Scott lives in Hopewell Junction, New York. He is the co-owner of Twitter celebrity cat Sockington. He works for Internet Archive and has given numerous presentations at technology related conferences on the topics of digital history, software, and website preservation.


Jason Scott graduated from Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, New York and served on the staff of the school newspaper under the title "Humor Staff". While in high school he produced the humor magazine Esnesnon ("nonsense" backwards).[5] He later graduated from Emerson College in 1992 with a film degree.[6] While at Emerson, he worked for the school humor magazine, school newspaper, WERS 88.9 FM radio, and served as art director on several dramatic plays.

Early work

After graduating from Emerson, Scott lived in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was employed as a temp worker while also drawing caricatures for pay on the streets of Cambridge.[7]


In 1990, Scott co-created TinyTIM, a popular MUSH that he ran for ten years.[8] In 1995, Jason joined the video game company Psygnosis as a technical support worker, before being hired by a video game startup, Focus Studios, as an art director. After Focus Studios' closure, Jason moved into UNIX administration,[9] where he remained until 2009.

He has been a speaker at DEF CON, an annual hacker conference, the first time at the 7th conference in 1999, and has spoken there almost every year since then. Scott also spoke at PhreakNIC 6 and 9, Rubi Cons 4 and 5, the 5th H.O.P.E. conference in 2004, Notacons 1, 2 (as a backup), 3 and 4, Toorcon 7, and beta premiered his documentary at the 7th annual Vintage Computer Festival. Most of his talks focus on the capturing of digital history or consist of narratives of stories relevant to his experiences online.[10]

In 2006, Scott announced that he was starting a documentary on video arcades, titled ARCADE.[11] Although he did not complete the project, all of the footage he shot for ARCADE has been made available on the Internet Archive.[12][13]

In 2007, he co-founded Blockparty, a North American demoparty.[14] For their inaugural year, they paired up with Notacon which takes place annually in Cleveland, Ohio. This collaborative effort allowed the fledgling party to utilize the existing support structure of an established conference.

In January 2009, he formed "Archive Team,"[15][16] a group dedicated to preserving the historical record of websites that close down.[17] Responding[18] to the announcement by AOL of the closure of AOL Hometown, the team announced[19] plans to save[20] Podango and GeoCities.

In October 2009, he started raising funds for a year-long sabbatical from his job as a computer systems administrator, to pursue technology history and archival projects full-time. By November 2009, he had reached his funding goals, with the support of over 300 patrons.[21]

In early 2011, he was involved in Yahoo! Video and Google Video archive projects.[22][23][24]

Scott announced the creation of Archive Corps, a volunteer effort to preserve physical archives, in 2015.[25][26]

Scott has been hosting his own podcast called Jason Scott Talks His Way Out of It since 2017.[27]

Scott is the software curator at the Internet Archive.[28] In April 2019, he uploaded all of the source code for Infocom's text-based adventure games and interactive fiction, including Zork and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, to GitHub.[29][30]


Sockington is a domestic cat who lives in Waltham, Massachusetts. He has gained large-scale fame via the social networking site Twitter. Scott has been regularly posting from Sockington's Twitter account since late 2007.[31] As of January 2018, Sockington's account has over 1.4 million followers, many of which are pet accounts themselves.[31][32]


Scott is a frequent collaborator of Johannes Grenzfurthner and appeared as an actor in Soviet Unterzoegersdorf: Sector 2 (2009), Glossary of Broken Dreams (2018), and the upcoming science fiction comedy Je Suis Auto (2019).


Scott is featured in the documentary Traceroute reflecting about his archiving work.



Scott in front of a PetaBox. Scott was hired by the Internet Archive in 2011.
Scott delivering a presentation at a Wikipedia conference in 2018.
  • TEXTFILES, G-PHILES, AND LOG FILES: Remembering the 1980s Through ASCIIDEF CON 7, July 10, 1999
  • TEXTFILES.COM: One Year LaterDEF CON 8, July 29, 2000
  • So You Got Your Lame Ass Sued: A Legal NarrativeDEF CON 9, July 2001
  • Documenting the BBS – Rubi-Con 4, April 2002
  • History of Phreaking 101 – PhreakNIC 6.0, November 1, 2002
  • Keynote: The Future is Now – Rubi-Con 5, March 28, 2003
  • Apple II Pirate LoreRubi-Con 5, March 29, 2003
  • 100 Years of the Computer Art Scene (with RaD Man) – Notacon 1, April 2004
  • Saving Digital History: A Quick and Dirty GuideH2K4, July 11, 2004
  • BBS: The Documentary: A PreviewDEF CON 12, August 2004
  • The History of the Coleco Adam (mp3) – Notacon 2, April 2005
  • Why Tech Documentaries are Impossible (And why we have to do them anyway.)DEF CON 13, July 31, 2005
  • Fidonet Presentation and Q&A – ToorCon 7, September 17, 2005
  • BBS Documentary Presentation – PhreakNIC 9.0, October 22, 2005
  • ConCon: A History of Hacker ConferencesShmoocon 2, January 13, 2005
  • Your Moment of Audio Zen: A History of PodcastsNotacon 3, April 7, 2006
  • The Great Failure of WikipediaNotacon 3, April 8, 2006
  • Retrocomputing (with Sam Nitzberg, Cheshire Catalyst, Sellam Ismail) – H.O.P.E. Number Six, July 2006
  • Underground Documentaries: The Art of the Interview and the Access (with Julien McArdle) – H.O.P.E. Number Six, July 2006
  • Wheel of Internet Knowledge – Phreaknic X, October 2006
  • MythapediaSTM (Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers) Innovations Seminar, December 1, 2006
  • Wikipedia, Brick by BrickNotacon 4, April 27, 2007
  • The Edge of Forever – Making Computer HistoryDEF CON 15, August 4, 2007
  • Making a Text Adventure DocumentaryDEF CON 16, August 10, 2008
  • Keynote speechKansasFest, July 22, 2009
  • That Awesome Time I Was Sued for Two Billion DollarsDEF CON 17, July 30, 2009
  • Atomic Porn: What is the smallest particle of erotica?Arse Elektronika 2009, October 2, 2009
  • DistriWiki: A Proposal – May 11, 2010
  • You're Stealing It Wrong! 30 Years of Inter-Pirate Battles - DEF CON 18, July 31, 2010
  • Archive Team: A Distributed Preservation of Service Attack - DEF CON 19, August 6, 2011
  • DEF CON Documentary Trailer - DEF CON 20, July 27, 2012
  • Wanted: Dead or AliveWebstock, February 15, 2013
  • Making Of The DEF CON Documentary - DEF CON 21, August 2, 2013
  • From COLO to YOLO: Confessions Of The Angriest Archivist — Bacon, May 16, 2014
  • Thwarting the Peasants: A Guided and Rambunctious Tour Through the 2600 DeCSS Legal Files – HOPE X, July 19, 2014[34]
  • So You Want To Murder a Software Patent – Derbycon, September 26, 2014[35]

See also


  1. ^ "Jason Scott: Past (Digital) Lives". FM4. ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Network). Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  2. ^ "BBS: The Documentary". Bbsdocumentary.com. Archived from the original on January 6, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  3. ^ Gagne, Ken (July 26, 2010). "The Grill: Jason Scott". Computerworld. IDG. Archived from the original on November 23, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
  4. ^ Get Lamp
  5. ^ "Issue #1 of Esnesnon". Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  6. ^ http://bbsdocumentary.com/longpitch.html
  7. ^ "The Life and Times of Jason Scott". Cow.net. September 13, 1970. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  8. ^ "ASCII by Jason Scott / About Jason Scott". ascii.textfiles.com. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
  9. ^ "Jason Works for a Living". Cow.net. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  10. ^ "T E X T F I L E S". Audio.textfiles.com. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  11. ^ "Arcade: A Documentary". Arcadedocumentary.com. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  12. ^ "Update 56: End. · The Jason Scott Documentary Three Pack". Kickstarter. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  13. ^ "ARCADE Documentary Footage and Interview Archives : Free Movies : Free Download, Borrow and Streaming : Internet Archive". archive.org. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  14. ^ Blockparty
  15. ^ "archiveteam.org". archiveteam.org. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  16. ^ Herrman, John (November 29, 2018). "It's Almost 2019. Do You Know Where Your Photos Are?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  17. ^ Schwartz, Matt. "Fire in the Library". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  18. ^ "ASCII by Jason Scott / Eviction, or the Coming Datapocalypse". Ascii.textfiles.com. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  19. ^ "ASCII by Jason Scott / Datapocalypso!". Ascii.textfiles.com. January 18, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  20. ^ "ASCII by Jason Scott / Geocities: Why Hello, Everybody". Ascii.textfiles.com. August 18, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  21. ^ "The Jason Scott Sabbatical". Kickstarter. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  22. ^ "Archive Team Is Trying To Download Google Video Before It Shuts Down". Laughing Squid. April 18, 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  23. ^ "Yahoo! Video - Archiveteam". www.archiveteam.org. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  24. ^ "Google Video - Archiveteam". www.archiveteam.org. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  25. ^ "Archive Corps, A Volunteer Collective To Help Quickly Save Physical Archives Before They Are Lost". Laughing Squid. August 24, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  26. ^ "Welcome to Archive Corps!". www.archivecorps.org. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  27. ^ "Jason Scott Talks His Way Out of It : Free Audio : Free Download, Borrow and Streaming : Internet Archive". archive.org. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  28. ^ "Download & Streaming : The Internet Archive Software Collection : Internet Archive". archive.org. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  29. ^ "historicalsource - Overview". GitHub. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  30. ^ Carpenter, Nicole; Maiberg, Emanuel (April 18, 2019). "Long Lost 'Zork' Source Code Uploaded to GitHub, But Few People Understand It". Motherboard. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  31. ^ a b "Twitter followers paw over feline". TODAY. Archived from the original on July 9, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  32. ^ "Twitter forcing a strategy switch for businesses". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
  33. ^ Chan, Casey. "DEFCON: A Documentary About the World's Largest Hacking Conference". Gizmodo. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  34. ^ "[HOPE X] Schedule". hope.net. Archived from the original on July 19, 2014. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  35. ^ "Derbycon Schedule". irongeek.com. Retrieved September 26, 2014.


  • Jason Scott, The Defendant (July 2001). So You Got Your Lame Ass Sued: A Legal Narrative. DEF CON speaker. Retrieved 2004-11-19.
  • Jason Sadofsky, The Tribune Articles, 1987–88
  • Jason Scott, The Life and Times of Jason Scott
  • DEF CON 13 (2005) speakers, including Jason Scott's "Why Tech Documentaries are Impossible"

External links

  • Jason Scott – Personal homepage (Archived)
  • Jason Scott on Twitter
  • Jason Scott Sadofsky on IMDb
  • Collector's Trove of Podcasts, an interview with Jason Scott in Wired magazine online
  • The Whole Lawsuit ThingHarvardNetSucks account of the lawsuit.
  • https://web.archive.org/web/20170911133405/http://sadofsky.com/
  • leahpeah interview with Jason Scott
  • fsck interview with Jason Scott
  • Jason Scott critiquing Wikipedia, 2006 on Vimeo
  • Jason Scott talking about acting
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