The Gossamer Project

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Name: The Gossamer Project
Date(s): 1995 - present
Archivist: Deirdre, Chael Hall, Vera Heinau
Founder: Vincent Juodvalkis
Type: Fan Fiction Archive
Fandom: The X-Files

(archive of earlier site) Specialty Archive

Gossamer Project 2.jpg
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The Gossamer Project (in Philedom often also simply refered to as Goss[1]) is a group of speciality archives which, combined, contain the vast majority of X-Files fan fiction on the Internet.[2]

In the mid to late 1990s, the Gossamer Archives/Project was amongst the biggest single media fandom-focused archives on the Internet,[note 1] and remained the largest single fandom fan fiction archive until the emergence of various Harry Potter archives in the early 2000s.

Gossamer is generally credited as the first major attempt to centralize and categorize the entire breadth of fan fiction produced in a single fandom, regardless of quality, length, genre, or topic, and it depended only on the author's consent to archive. This was something not all archives aimed for, and may explain why X-Files fandom developed an extremely detailed and coded format for story categorization.

However, Gossamer was not the first X-Files fanfiction archive. "There were at least four that preceded it -- Cybercow, John Ruchak's, Cort Dougan's, and Martin Small. Vincent took over Martin's archive in 1995, but it did not become known as Gossamer until some time that fall when he moved to a server known as Gossamer.[3] For more on pre-Gossamer history, see Archive History.

See The Gossamer Project FAQ, Archived version for a detailed 1997 FAQ.

In July 2017, the admins confirmed that the archive had not been updated since 2016 and that is was closed to new submissions. They can still be reached via their Help Desk. There are no plans to move the archive or to migrate it to AO3 via Open Doors.[4]

As of 2017, all archived fanworks on Gossamer may be searched via the full-text search engine Liminal.

To avoid "hot"/direct linking (and save bandwidth/costs), opening links to stories may not display a working page but an "access denied" message. Simply copy and paste the link once more into the browser bar or change the sub-domain in the the link, for example from to or to display a story.

Some Interviews with Gossamer Archivists

The Archivists

Vincent Juodvalkis

Vincent Juodvalkis opened the original "Gossamer Archive" on May 5, 1995 on the gossamer server in the Ohio State University engineering department. While he did not originally call his archive the "Gossamer Archive," it became known as Gossamer within the first several months of its existence due to the presence of "gossamer" in the URL. He began collecting/archiving all fan fiction posted to, and later, from the X-Files Fan Fiction mailing list located on the (later, list server.

On July 30, 1996, Vincent announced the projected shutdown of the Ohio State site, citing a lack of time and network saturation.[5] He retired from archiving and the X-Files community with the shutdown of his site.

See Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Vincent Judovalkis (2012).

Vera Heinau, Adam Lee, and Harri Nyman

Vera Heinau created the FTP mirror site at Freie Universität Berlin (Free University of Berlin) in early 1996. In 1998, she also volunteered the web space that was for about two years, and from 1999 through today. Vera currently works on the Gossamer help desk and doing any technical work required on the fu-berlin server.

Adam Lee created an Australian site for Gossamer after the announcement of the shutdown of the archive at Ohio State during the summer of 1996. This site integrated into the Gossamer Project in late 1996. After several moves, his site closed on November 1, 1997 and he retired from archiving.

Harri Nyman created a Finnish site for Gossamer after the announcement of the shutdown of the archive at Ohio State during the summer of 1996. This site integrated into the Gossamer Project in late 1996. His site was never highly visited, and after several attempts at revival it disappeared during late 1997.

Stephanie Davis

Stephanie Davis became known for maintaining archives focused on series fan fiction, episode-related fan fiction, and Mulder/Scully romance during 1995 and 1996. After the announcement of the shutdown of the Ohio State site during the summer of 1996, she copied and made available the files from that site on her site. She never managed to get a system set up for archiving new fiction, and did not integrate this site into the Gossamer Project.

When unfinished stories and series were separated from the main Gossamer Project archives in early 1997, Stephanie created and maintained a site for those files. This site was handed over to Michelle in mid-1997, and was eventually shut down in late 1999.


Natasha (Kelsey) began the "Gossamer Project," a project to database, categorize and summarize all the currently archived stories on August 12, 1996[6][7][8]. Originally, her site was only a collection of HTML links to the other archives, but when she found a US-based server (Simplenet) willing to host a site with the disk and bandwidth requirements of Gossamer, she launched a full US mirror site.[9] This site became Gossamer Simplenet.

Natasha created a flat file database and a series of HTML page creation scripts to generate the Gossamer Project web pages from those database entries, modernizing the Gossamer Project to a great extent and allowing several hundred stories to be easily archived per month. During late 1996 and early 1997, most of the other archive attempts consolidated under the Gossamer Project umbrella, using her database and page generation scripts.

On May 31, 1997, Natasha announced the closure of the Gossamer USA (Simplenet) site, and her retirement from archiving. Gossamer Simplenet was eventually handed over to Deirdre, and Natasha created then maintained the X-Files Novel Annex for several more years.

Amy and Michelle

Amy created the Gossamer Specialty Archive for poems, filks, and non-fiction when these files were separated from the main Gossamer Project archives. She maintained this site until 2001.

Michelle took over the Gossamer Unfinished Stories and Serial Archive from Stephanie Davis in June 1997 and maintained that site until June 1998. At that point, "series" stories (stories which were complete themselves but part of an overall series) were re-integrated into the main archives, and Gossamer stopped providing public access to unfinished stories.[10]

Lisa and Gem

Lisa Reeves began her work in the administrative side of the X-Files fan fiction community by forwarding stories from the X-Files Fan Fiction mailing list to, by author request, in 1996. During early 1997, she started helping Natasha with file collection and cleanup, and eventually opened and maintained the Gossamer Birdfeeder site. She retired from archiving and shut down Birdfeeder in late 1998.

Gem started her work with the Gossamer Project by helping Natasha during early 1997 with file collection and database work. During the re-organization of the Gossamer Project in June 1997, she became the Gossamer database administrator. She handed over responsibility of the Gossamer database to Chael and Deirdre in mid 1998 and took over some responsibility for the Gossamer Helpdesk. She retired from archiving in late 1999.

Chael Hall

Chael Hall was the server administrator for the (eventually, server starting in 1993. He became involved with the X-Philes community when he created the main X-Files discussion list for refugees from the flamewars in 1995, and with the fan fiction community when he began to host the X-Files Fan Fiction mailing list in 1996.

In February 1997, with the knowledge that neither the existing page generation scripts nor the original Gossamer database were able to handle the ever-increasing size of the archive, he created a test site (Gossamer X-Philes) and new PERL-based page generation scripts. These scripts were deployed to all archives in June 1997.

He continues to help maintain Gossamer today, maintaining the Gossamer administration server and all back-end scripts required for file processing and page generation.


Deirdre became involved in the administrative side of the X-Files fan fiction community in August 1996, when she helped Natasha gather and database story categories and summaries for the original Gossamer Project. She took over from Lisa Reeves as the X-Files Fan Fiction mailing list forwarder until that function was automated, and was originally intended to be the Gossamer X-Philes archivist when that site was proposed in February 1997.

In June 1997, she took over Gossamer Simplenet from Natasha and maintained the site until it was shut down by Simplenet in May 1998. She set up and maintained the ill-fated Gossamer Interspeed for its two weeks of existence, and then set up and maintained Gossamer Germany.

She began collecting and cleaning up files from in August 1997, and took over collecting and cleaning up files from all sources, and maintaining the database in mid 1998. In late 1998, she revamped back-end databasing methods, allowing up to 1200 stories to be archived by a single person in a month versus 300-500 with the older methods.

Deirdre is still actively collecting and uploading files to the database and scheduling updates for Gossamer.

See Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Deirdre (2012).

Archive Structure

Gossamer Project.jpg

Since the Gossamer Project came into being at a time when both disk size and bandwidth usage were of major concern, the archivists created and have maintained a structure that used mirroring and some isolation of particular types of files to spread access and storage across multiple servers.

  • Since 1996, the Gossamer Project has consisted of at least three main archive sites. These sites are mirrors of one another and contain the same set of story files. The main archive sites include all completed fictional stories that the authors desire to have archived at Gossamer.
  • From 1996 to 1999, the Gossamer Project maintained a separate works-in-progress archive. Due to the amount of work required to maintain a WIPs archive, the project was eventually abandoned. WIPs are stored and tracked by Gossamer archivists on the back-end of the archive, although no guarantee is offered that the story will be archived in the first update after completion. Authors are asked to make the archivists aware of the completion of the story and submit the finalized story in full via e-mail.
  • From 1996 to 2001, the Gossamer Project maintained a separate specialty archive. This archive included files that did not fall under the category of "fictional stories": poems, lists, articles, meta-fiction, etc.
  • Since 1998, the Gossamer Project has partnered with the Ephemeral archive. Due to server limitations, Gossamer has been unable to offer more than a simple html-and-text serving interface over the years. Ephemeral was set up as a separately owned and maintained archive that offered immediate access to stories collected (via robot) from, as well as the ability to upload files to Ephemeral for immediate reader access while submitting them to Gossamer.

Archive History


While Gossamer is generally credited as the first major attempt to centralize and categorize the entire breadth of fan fiction produced in X-Files, it was not, however, the first X-Files fanfiction archive.

"There were at least four that preceded it -- Cybercow, John Ruchak's, Cort Dougan's, and Martin Small. Vincent took over Martin's archive in 1995, but it did not become known as Gossamer until some time that fall when he moved to a server known as Gossamer. [11]

A fan in 1997 wrote:

Anyhow -- I just want to say that I'm getting tired of statements that make it sound like Vincent was the original ATXC archivisit. HE WAS NOT. Yes, he was the most organized and built Gossamer into a major force in the ATXC community, but he was NOT the original ATXC archivist, and Gossamer was not even the name of the first archive site that Vincent ran.

I'm not even sure I could say *who* the original ATXC archivist was, but there were at least *five that proceeded Vincent. The first I ever saw referenced was down for the summer when I first joined ATXC, and was based somewhere out of Chicago, if I remember correctly, and never came back up -- all I can remember is that it had "cow" in the name somewhere. Another was, I believe, Eric Shapow, out of Pittsburgh.

The most complete at the time I joined this community and the one I was most famiiar with was John Ruchak's, which I believe was also out of Chicago. John was archiving *without* having a newsfeed for ATXC, which is some feat! He posted to this group through a mail-to-news gateway, and made it clear that he was dependent on the kindness of others to keep the archive up-to-date. I was one of the ones who helped him out -- since I had access to a pretty good newsfeed at the time, I began uploading stories via ftp to his archive.

In late 1994, John got a new job and had to give up the archive, at which time, Cort Dougan took up the archivist's torch, taking over John's files and continuing. This was the New Mexico archive at Again, I helped Cort by uploading stories via ftp to his archive to help him keep it updated.

There was another archive going on at this time that was run by a guy named, I believe, Martin (whose last name I've unfortunately forgotten). When he graduated from college, he gave up the archive, and, if my memory serves, it was at this point that Vincent came into the picture. He took over Martin's archive and began making the changes that gave the archive the basic structure that we still have today and eventually gave it the name Gossamer.

Due to the growing popularity of Vincent's archive -- at least partly because it was easier to direct people to Gossamer, which was a WWW site, rather than Cort's ftp site -- over time, people began simply referring to Gossamer, and at some point, Cort shut down the New Mexico ftp site.

None of this is meant in *any* way to take away from what Vincent was able to accomplish with Gossamer, but it just annoys the heck out of me to see these other early ATXC archivists forgotten in the oral history of this group...

At any rate, I can't speak for Eric's archive or Martin's, but I can tell you that John/Cort's archives were archiving everything creative posted to ATXC, and that goes back to the summer of 1994. [12]

Another fan in 1997 wrote:

My wife Lee Ann and I have been reading X-Files fanfic since Feb or March of 1994. The earliest archive site that I remember using was the Ashton site in England. My personal archive started when the archivist, a name I can't remember now, was shutting down. I ftped her archive onto my computer. This is also about the time Vincent started Gossamer. Lee Ann remembers using the Rutger's site in GA since it was WWW.

A couple of the early sites are:

X-Files Fan Fix Archive (no longer in use)
Terminal X
Rutgers This site was listed as the Cool site of the Day for 26 Sep 1994. [13]

Specifically Gossamer

The original Gossamer Archive was opened on May 4, 1995, by Vincent Juodvalkis at and after mirroring files from all the older FTP sites which collected stories from (ATXC) usenet newsgroup.[14] He began collecting/archiving all fan fiction posted to ATXC, and later, from the X-Files Fan Fiction mailing list located on the list server.

In early 1996, an FTP mirror site was set up at the Free University of Berlin, maintained by Vera.[15]

On July 3, 1996, Vincent announced the projected shutdown of the Ohio State site, citing a lack of time and network saturation.[16],

During the summer of 1996, several alternative sites were created, including Stef Davies's UK site, Adam Lee's Australian site, and Harri Nyman's Finnish site.[17]

On August 12 1996, Natasha (aka Kelsy) began the "Gossamer Project," a project to database, categorize and summarize all the currently archived stories. [18] [19] [20] Originally, her site was only a collection of HTML links to the other archives, but when she found a US-based server willing to host a site with the disk and bandwidth requirements of Gossamer, she launched a full US mirror site.[21]

By early 1997, most of the other archive attempts had consolidated under the Gossamer Project umbrella, generally using the database and HTML page generation scripts created by Natasha. Several types of files, including unfinished stories and specialty files (poems, filks, non-fiction) were separated to their own sites.[22]

In February 1997, the site on the server was created as a test site for improvements to the Gossamer database and page generation scripts.

On May 31, 1997, Natasha announced the closure of the Gossamer USA (Simplenet) site, and her retirement from archiving.

In June 1997, following various kerfuffles on, the Gossamer Project was reorganized. Gossamer X-Philes was opened for public access, and Gossamer Simplenet was handed over to Deirdre from Natasha.

Lisa (Gossamer Birdfeeder/story cleanup), Adam (Gossamer Australia), Deirdre (Gossamer Simplenet/story cleanup), Chael (Gossamer X-Philes/technical), Harri (Gossamer Finland), Vera (Gossamer FTP), Amy (Specialty Archive), Michelle (Unfinished and Serial Archive), and Gem (Database Administrator) took over maintenance. The archives were fully integrated, using the same database of files, containing the same story files, and posting story updates at around the same time.

On November 1, 1997, Gossamer Australia closed and Adam Lee retired from archiving.

On February 10, 1998, the domain name was registered, although it was not fully used by the Gossamer Project for another year.

In May 1998, Gossamer was listed in an article in the Yahoo!Life print magazine, and experienced a traffic spike to over 60,000 hits per site, per day. Two weeks later, Gossamer Simplenet was forced to close by due to the excessive traffic. The site moved to temporarily, but was shut down again due to excessive traffic within 14 days.

On July 12, 1998, Gossamer Germany ( was opened on the FU Berlin network that had hosted the Gossamer FTP archive since 1996. The name choice proved to be a bad decision, as many US-based fans refuse to use a site obviously located in Europe due to unfounded concerns about speed and access.

On April 1, 1999, all archive names based on networks or locations were retired. Fluky, Krycek, and Skinner archives were opened as subdomains under the primary domain name.

During late 1999 and early 2000, the Gossamer archives received, on average, 1,000 direct e-mail, newsgroup and mailing list submissions a month. The archiving team fell behind for many months, resulting in over 8,000 files being archived during 2000. From that high water point, the submissions rate has gradually fallen to a current rate of about 600 submissions per year.

From 2000-2007, there have been several archive moves, but few events that have had long term effects on the archive or readers. In 2001, the Gossamer Skinner name was retired and eventually replaced by Gossamer Tooms, due to the unreliability of the servers that had hosted Skinner over the years and to note the acquisition of a commercial dedicated server for Gossamer usage.

Archive Funding

The Gossamer servers have always been funded by the archivists or via donated disk space and bandwidth. Monetary donations have not been requested, and offered donations have been refused.

  • The original Gossamer site was hosted on a server in the engineering department at Ohio State.
  • Freie Universität Berlin (The Free University of Berlin) has donated disk space and bandwidth for a Gossamer site since 1996. From 1996-1998, the university hosted a FTP site for Gossamer. From 1998-today, the university has hosted both a FTP and web interface (first as Gossamer Germany, now as Gossamer Fluky).
  • From 1996 to 1998, Gossamer Simplenet was hosted on a site paid out of the archivist's pocket ($15/month). The site was shut down when the price was raised to over $150/month.
  • From 1997 to 1998, Gossamer X-Philes and the Gossamer administration server was hosted by in exchange for technical services.
  • Since 1998, Gossamer X-Philes (now Krycek) has been hosted on various servers maintained by a person who does not participate in fandom, in exchange for technical advice and services.
  • From 1998 to 2003, the Gossamer administration server was hosted behind a residential ISDN line by Chael Hall, paid for out of his pocket. From 1998 to 2001, this line cost approx. $200/month, during 2002-2003, approx. $90/month. In 2003, the Gossamer administration server was moved to a commercial dedicated server ($90/month), and Gossamer Tooms was also created on that server. While he did take donations for maintenance of the list server at, the limited donations he received during that time were used to purchase/upgrade server hardware rather than to pay for the monthly cost of the ISDN connection.

Due to the limitations on donated server space (for both Germany/Fluky and X-Philes/Krycek), Gossamer has been unable to deploy more automated interface technology.

Real Person Fiction on Gossamer

RPF was archived on Gossamer at one point. In 2012, one of Gossamer's archivists said:

Real Person Fic. We stopped archiving it in 1999. That doesn't mean we don't have some of it. Because it was archived before, and I'm not going to go back and purge that stuff because it's part of our history—that before '99, we did archive it. If the lawyer for an actor sent us a letter saying, "Remove this, please," it would come down. I personally have issues with real person fic, but I don't feel like I can apply my personal issues to the archive in that I should go purge it. [23]

A 1998 Peek Into Growing Pains

There were regular "updates" and commentary about this archive in the often caustic newsletter by CiCi Lean. See individual issues of The Acid Desk.

See the essay THE BIG ARCHIVE THAT COULDN'T (and How No One Was Very Surprised...) (December 1998).

Some examples of these updates (early 1998 to October 1998):

UPDATING BLUES: Seems like the overwhelming amount of new (and badly formatted) fiction has been bruising the mouse fingers of the harried Gossamer Gals and their volunteers. Time between updates has fluctuated wildly, the last two being 7 weeks and 7 days respectively, with nearly 500 stories included. Of course, the update that had my novel included on The Latest Stories page was relegated to the vast bowels of the archive after the seven days, not the seven weeks. Figures. [24]

CATEGORY FUN: Hearing some complaints of UST versus actual romance designations on Gossamer. Authors feel they are losing readers without the almighty "R" designation (even if M&S are practically "investigating" in each others' laps), and archivists are adamant that without The Screaming Poodle or its intimations, there is no MSR. I sympathize with the archivists on this one. Imagine a horde of MSR readers deprived of their smut without foreknowledge. Not a pretty sight. [25]

WOES-R-US: Wow...the worst crisis for Gossamer ever since Vincent said his "hiedy-ho, see-ya-later" all those years ago. Just when you think everything is orderly and peaceful in Wonderland, the tornado comes a-blastin' and Dorothy, you are outta there!

Now, who's to blame? Lousy, lying, cheap bastard ISP's of course, whose offer of "unlimited web space" is tantamount to a life-long deed to the Brooklyn Bridge. The first of the villains, Simplenet, decided to raise the price of any web site using more than 200mgs, TWO THOUSAND PERCENT! Yes, that's right, Dorothy, forget your college education, and fork over $400 dollars a month to archive fanfic. Seems the simpletons at Simplenet aren't just content with lousy service, oh, no... they want to give you a finger-massage as well.

The intrepid Deirdre, who ran Gossamer Simplenet, said "no way" and did a MARVELOUS job of organizing a switchover to Interspeed, who turn out to be...but, of course, Villain #2. The jerks at Interspeed took a gander at, Gossamer, and quickly yanked back their "promise" of "unlimited space", leaving poor Dee once again in the proverbial lurch. Undaunted, the archivists go to work once more to find the space, and *just* when they think they can pull off a new site... Chicken Little invades atxc.

And boy, -did- the sky fall down.

Horrified screams of "Gossamer Is Down!" and "SAVE GOSSAMER!" fill the air, with the less-informed denizens seemingly forgetting that there are TWO OTHER Gossamers (X-Philes & Birdfeeder) to choose from. (I guess those big, bright links at the very tippy top of Simplenet weren't quite big & bright enough.) So, to help save The Archive That Didn't Need Saving, certain well-meaning individuals decide to play "The Rescuers" and MIRROR the sites, which, of course, by dint of copying 10,000 files in one shot, completely shuts down Birdfeeder.

What's that saying? You know...about good intentions and a road to somewhere?

Anyway, with BOTH Birdfeeder & Simplenet shut down, we then actually had a serious problem on our hands (not to mention a batch of bald archivists with bunches of ripped hair clutched between their shaking fingers.) The screams on atxc grow louder, longtime denizens and archivists become confused and concerned, and Gossamer X-Philes is in serious danger of overloading with hits.

Pleas for calm from Dee and the other archivists go unheeded for at least two days, and, like every other "problem" on atxc, this one takes yet another 300 posts to resolve. Finally, peace is restored to Wonderland, with the mirrors taken down, Gossamer Germany put up (along with an interim, Latest Stories Only archive added as a plus) and Chicken Little is safely back in his coop, oblivious to the fact that there is such a thing as self-fulfilling prophecy.

And what is the moral of this little tale?

The moral is...relax. Gossamer ain't going nowhere, and if it ever does, you'll be informed in -plenty- of time by the archivists. They work hard, they know what they are doing, leave 'em to do their work in peace.

Simple? But of course. [26]

Well, The Goss-Monster is up to the July fics, hip, hip, hoary-toads. One good thing? There's no more expectations attached to the updates or the reliability of The Archive, so, things can only get better from here on in.



Luckily, a bit of the hit load will most certainly be relived by the new Ephemeral Archive Scott Miller's ambitious foray into fast-paced UNIX technology. This archive yanks only the stories posted to atxc (threads flagged with the words "NEW" or "REV" in the subject line) thus, no doubt taking some of the pain away from the overload of hits on Gossamer New Stories Update Day. [27]

The Latest on Gossamer...

The updates are still months behind.

*chirping of crickets*


BUT... on a much brighter note, Ephemeral is doing very well, and has gotten over 100,000 thousand hits in the first two months of its existence. Of course, don't tell Scott, but 50,000 of those are me, checking to compare my hit-to-recommendation ratio and making sure it stays within a reasonable range. (One hit, one rec. Two hits, THREE recs...)

Don't ever leave us, Scott. This is the most fun I've had since I discovered The Kama Sutra of Pooh Web Site. (Don't ask, folks.) [28]

A 1998 Peek Into Archiving Etiquette, Attempts at Organization, and Navigating Permission in the Early Days of the Internet

In 1998, JenRose, an archivist at Idealists Haven, attempted to tame the X-Files wild west a bit with a post to The intro:

This thread is specifically designed so archivists in the process of linking to authors rather than gossamers can have a fairly relatively up to datish source.

As it will be archived at dejanews, it will also be quite searchable.

If anyone else would like to compile the list, feel free. I don't have time.


To clarify:

My original motivation for this was.... <drumroll>

Gossamer archivists suggested that other archivists either host the stories themselves or link to the authors sites.

RATHER THAN forcing each and every archivist to email each and every author and ask them permission for this, I thought it would be really cool to have that information readily available. A lot of us couldn't care less who archives our stuff and where, and others of us care very much. If I were an archivist, I'd want to know.

So this *may* reduce the workload involved in shifting links and downloading stories, by reducing the numbers of permissions people have to ask for.

If someone says, "Yes, I have a web page, and it's okay for people to link to it with permission", and someone already has permission to link to that story on Gossamer and wants to move the link, they know that: 1. The author *does* have a web page 2. The author is willing to have people link to it 3. The author has a current e-mail address

Thus, it is easier for an archivist to know it's okay to move the link or archive the story, and Gossamer's load is reduced.

This is not a "permanent" or "complete" solution. It's a temporary and useful tool to help ease the work load a bit.

If you were in the process right now of shifting links for 200 stories from 30 authors, wouldn't it help if you could find the web pages, permission status, etc. right here, rather than opening each and every story and praying that the email is still good? [29]

A fan, Loch Ness, addressed some fans' concerns regarding this post:

I think is a valid point if you assume that these messages will be the *only* source for distribution information. But they're not. Almost everything posted these days contains some kind of distribution statement at the top, whether it's "do not archive" or "only at Gossamer" or "archive anywhere" or whatever. IIRC, the Gossamer FAQ requests/requires that, and my personal view is that if you don't put that statement at the top, any archivist is free to do whatever he/she wishes. I don't think JenRoses' intent was to eliminate those distribution statements - I doubt any of us really expects that archivists are going to check DejaNews every time they want to add a story.

Of course, I've been wrong before... :-)

Lord knows, as an author, I'm not going to stop putting a distribution statement on top of my stories, and as an archivist, I'm going to check the story itself first.


Archivist mode off; author mode on. I know, but some of us have a problem with that attitude. I have occasionally objected to the way a non-Gossamer archive presented my stories - the one that sent me ballistic was one that, cavalierly and without my knowledge or consent, changed the rating on one of my pieces from NC-17 to R. That was the point at which I started posting things with a notation that said "do not archive without author's express permission." Mainly I want to know where the stories are, so I can have a look and correct any problems (and not end up getting surprised by a flame from somebody who finds NC-17 material in a story someone else opted to rate R).

And yes, all my stuff is at Gossamer. I post with a "do not archive," then send it to Gossamer in a separate mailing, with an e-mail that gives permission and asks them not to remove the "do not archive" statement - in what now appears to be a vain hope that specialty archivists will see the statement and either ask for permission or take a pass on the story.

FWIW, I don't believe I've ever refused permission when somebody asked. And the only time I've ever insisted someone pull a piece out was the by-now-notorious rating fiasco.[30]

JenRose added some clarification:

ARCHIVISTS AND AUTHORS!- A Small Observation I designed the form with that knowledge. The fact of the matter is that some people just don't want to be archived that way, and I respect that. Some authors have retracted their permission for Gossamer to archive simply because they wish to retain more control. This is why I put "Notification preferred" or "Notification required".

This is a tool which is designed to make it a bit easier for smaller archives to find out quickly if the author they want to link to has a blanket permission for them to do so.

As for larger projects, as far as I know they don't have the "blessing" of the community for assumed permission anyway. Things like Dejanews are so automatic that if one is serious about not being archived, one must do the x-no archive-yes deelybop. People who decide to do large archives with a large number of stories can't assume blanket permission. Gossamer already has it, with an established way of saying "Don't archive".

This is merely intended to help archivists who are looking to move their links from gossmaer to author pages to know when it is okay to do so. It is helpful for them to know what the author's general opinion is on the subject, so that they don't accidentally archive someone who does not want to be archived.

Putting authors' homepages in this highly searchable format makes it much easier for archivists to switch links from gossamer to individual author sites. This benefits the community greatly by taking the stress off of Gossamer.

No archive is "complete". Not even gossamer. I think the uncertainty principle explains this well.<G> You can never know exactly where all of the stories are, because some are not posted here, others are posted with a no-archive, and some simply never get to gossamer at all even if they are posted here. Authors have an absolute right to control where their works are archived, even if it is inconvenient to the community.

I want to make sure that people don't cavalierly start archiving without respect to the authors wishes. Yes, it makes it more difficult. But that's the way it is.

There are some really fantastic authors out there who specifically don't want their stories archived willy-nilly all over the net. Some who are not included at Gossamer at all by their own request. I personally would love it if all stories were on Gossamer. But as long as people don't respect the author's wish to notify, some authors will chose not to be archived at all.

That's where the community loses. [31]

A grateful fan, Pyrephox, points out:

*blinks* I just like knowing someone enjoyed my stories enough to archive or link to them... it makes me happy. I don't suppose they *have to* if it's really that much of a problem, but since I don't really have the time to check all the fanfic archives out there, I might never know where my stories have gone... [32]

Another fan, Circe, adds:

True, but it's nice to at least attempt to ask permission, especially when the author has requested notification. I've never denied anyone permission, but I like to know where my stories are. I don't think it's too much to ask for the archivist to drop me a line and let me know they've archived my story. [33]

2005: A Ten Year Anniversary Post

The Gossamer archivists are proud to announce Gossamer's 10-year anniversary today. Born on May 4, 1995 out of the necessity to organize and maintain X-Files fan fiction for posterity, Gossamer reflects the ideals of Vincent Juodvalkis (its original founder) and (the community from which it sprang.) Despite the ever-changing world around it, Gossamer has only changed management twice--in August, 1996 and June, 1997. Its current administrators (Vera, Deirdre, and Chael) have been involved with the project since 1996.

Each archivist has made their mark on Gossamer... Natasha built the database, wrote WordPerfect macros to generate story listings, and established the site layout. Vera established the FTP site and has been a phenomenal resource behind the scenes. Steph, Michelle, and Amy split off WIP's, serials, and other speciality content into independently managed archives. Chael automated many aspects of story submissions and story listing generation. Gem and Lisa cleaned up and databased thousands of submissions, communicating with hundreds of authors along the way. Deirdre redesigned the site layout several times and has handled submissions and maintained the database for the past six years. Many, many other volunteers have aided Gossamer's development over the years.

Gossamer was nearly crushed under the weight of its own success when traffic exceeded 60,000 hits per site per day in the late 1990's. We scrambled to set up new sites as our providers became upset with the amount of traffic. We set up the Update archive to reduce the stress on the primary archives. Despite the gravity of the issues we faced, Gossamer has never requested or accepted donations or advertising.

Thankfully, since the end of the show traffic has slowed to a manageable 330,000 story hits per month. Total site traffic is about 760,000 hits per month. Gossamer transfers 13.4 GB per month in stories and 30.9 GB per month overall. Stories account for 43% of all site traffic. There are over 6,000 authors and 33,000 stories archived at Gossamer.

The face of fanfic online has changed dramatically during our tenure. Many waves of authors and archivists have hit the scene with different- -and perfectly valid--views on the way archiving should be done. We have been watching the other archives to see what works and what doesn't. We intend to improve the usability of Gossamer without sacrificing its practical, no-nonsense design. Over the coming months, we plan to roll out several small, but meaningful changes to Gossamer. Here is a summary of those changes:

INDIVIDUAL AUTHOR PAGES - The author listings will be re-organized. Each author will have a separate page listing only their stories. If you are archived under multiple names, the only way to group your stories together is to change them to the same author name. A beta test of the new listings is available on the Tooms archive:

NEW RATING SYSTEM - Due to concerns over rating systems in general and the inability of our current system to adequately describe story content, we will implement a new *optional* content keyword system. Authors will be able to describe the type and degree of content that exists in the story. For example, "Substantial Language. Mild Sexuality. Mild Violence."

NEW SEARCH ENGINE - We will begin work on a new, more effective search engine soon. There are no plans to provide full-text searching.

IMPROVE OTHER LISTINGS - We will review and tweak all of the other story listings as we get time. One thought is to break the episode listings into seasons for better navigation.

UPDATE HELP DESK - Deirdre did a fantastic job updating the help desk a couple of years ago. It needs a few minor updates. For example, the WIP, Specialty, and Update archives are all officially unmaintained at this point. The new content keyword system will need to be described as well.

SPECIALTY STORIES - We are considering re-integrating the specialty stories into the completed story archives since the Specialty archive is no longer maintained.

As always, Gossamer is dedicated to archiving the majority of X-Files fan fiction without favoritism or distraction. We strive to provide an appropriate balance between the needs of authors, readers, and archivists. We appreciate the community's support over the years and look forward to providing many more years of service.

Best Regards, Deirdre, Vera, and Chael

The Gossamer Project[34]

A 2008 View of Gossamer, Live Journal, and of Central Archives

[Amal Nahurriyeh]
I've been an LJ user for years, so I'm very familiar with the technology; when I got into fandom, I was really excited to learn that I could join the community by using a format I already understood. LJ makes feedback really easy (and it's part of an accepted community practice already); it makes publishing your work really easy, and formatting is a snap; you don't have to worry about hosting or any of that drama. At the same time, it puts you immediately in touch with a community. I literally spend most of my days that I'm working at home on LJ; I comment back and forth with friends, I laugh at whatever's on the_caps_files, I read fic from communities and squee about Battlestar Galactica and whatever. Because it's a social space as much as a place to post, it really draws me in, as a participant, and I feel more connected to the fannish community because of it. (For example, I'd read everything Dasha K had ever written, but I never said anything to her, because it was too weird to email someone out of the blue and say, hi, you write good. But we met on LJ, and not only have I told her how much I like her work, we've also become actually friendly... See? LJ makes people talk to each other! MAGIC.) I love Gossamer a lot; honestly, I've spent days of my life on there. But I hate the idea of reformatting my work in plain text, and I also keep forgetting when to upload things. Ephemeral confuses me every time I try to read the posting guidelines, so I don't think I'd ever both to submit over there. At some point, I'll probably sit down and submit everything I've got to Gossamer, because I like the idea of a central archive. But I wish there were some way to submit formatted text, or to submit more simply, to make communication between those of us on LJ and the older archetecture we already have. I'd hate to lose Gossamer as an archive for future generations of Philes.[35]

Fan Comments


My stories will continue to be available on gossamer until the suns grow cold and the heavens dark, [...][36]

Thank you, Deirdre, Vera, and Chael for all you are doing! Thank you to all the people who have contributed in the past and who will come forward in the future. Happy tenth birthday, Gossamer! I hope to some day celebrate your coming of age at twenty one![37]
I only discovered Gossamer and the related sites almost two years ago, so there's still lots of reading I haven't done. It's also an excellent place to refer fellow Philes to whatever type of story they're looking for.[38]
Bravo! I would like to thank you for the hours and hours of enjoyment I've derived from reading the fics in Gossamer. It is also one of the easiest site to navigate. You did a tremendous job making it user friendly.[39]
[Laura Hale]
Gossamer is great. :) You can read for ages and still not get close to reading everything... even in a limited genre or pairing.[40]

Meta/Further Reading/Discussion



  1. ^ Other large single-fandom archives at that time were Trekiverse,, 852 Prospect, and the Due South Archive.


  1. ^ Christmas Consummations – X-Trash, Archived version
  2. ^ The Gossamer Project Help Desk - History of Gossamer (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  3. ^ comment by Katie Redshoes at alt.startrek.creative, September 2000
  4. ^ Morgan Dawn's personal notes, dated July 18, 2017.
  5. ^ Gossamer is closing (projected date in October), Jul 29 1996 (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  6. ^ New archive attempt - Story Summaries, Aug 6 1996 (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  7. ^ The Gossamer Project - AUTHORS Please read!, Aug 16 1996 (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  8. ^ ATTENTION all Archivists! (Please, Please Read) - The Gossamer Project, Aug 18 1996 (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  9. ^ New Archive Site and FAQ, Sep 13 1996 (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  10. ^ Gossamer Project FAQ, Version 2.03 (07/09/98) on 8/15/98 by Deirdre] in
  11. ^ comment by Katie Redshoes at alt.startrek.creative, September 2000
  12. ^ Katherine Fritz Archive Discussion (was An open letter to ATXC - My Rant), July 23, 1997
  13. ^ Steven Wagner at Archive Discussion (was An open letter to ATXC - My Rant), July 23, 1997
  14. ^ The Gossamer Archive: Quick Notes, May 5 1996 (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  15. ^ The GOSSAMER Archive Introduction (v2.2 01 MAY 1996), Apr 30 1996 (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  16. ^ Gossamer is closing (projected date in October), Jul 29 1996 (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  17. ^ Another Creative archive is open!, Aug 2 1996 (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  18. ^ New archive attempt - Story Summaries, Aug 6 1996 (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  19. ^ The Gossamer Project - AUTHORS Please read!, Aug 16 1996(Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  20. ^ ATTENTION all Archivists! (Please, Please Read) - The Gossame Project, Aug 18 1996 (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  21. ^ New Archive Site and FAQ, Sep 13 1996 (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  22. ^ The Gossamer Project Help Desk - History of Gossamer (Last accessed November 16, 2008.)
  23. ^ Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Deirdre (2012)
  24. ^ from The Acid Desk #1
  25. ^ from The Acid Desk #2
  26. ^ from The Acid Desk #3
  27. ^ from The Acid Desk #7
  28. ^ from The Acid Desk #8
  29. ^ July 12, 1998 at ARCHIVISTS AND AUTHORS!
  30. ^ July 1998 at ARCHIVISTS AND AUTHORS!
  31. ^ July 13, 1998 at ARCHIVISTS AND AUTHORS!
  32. ^ July 1998 at ARCHIVISTS AND AUTHORS!
  33. ^ July 1998 at ARCHIVISTS AND AUTHORS!
  34. ^ Gossamer (2005-05-04). "Gossamer's Ten-Year Anniversary!". Archived from the original on 2023-01-16.
  35. ^ Amal Nahurriyeh at How Will It End? Interview. "I've been an LJ user for years..." how Will It End?. Archived from the original on 2012-10-11.
  36. ^ Brandon (2006-04-18). "My stories will continue to be available on gossamer..." Archived from the original on 2023-01-16.
  37. ^ Ursula (2005-05-04). "Thank you, Deirdre, Vera, and..." Archived from the original on 2023-01-16.
  38. ^ Pattie (2005-05-04). "Yes! Happy Birthday, Gossamer!..." Archived from the original on 2023-01-16.
  39. ^ dee (2005-05-04). "Bravo! I would like to thank you..." Archived from the original on 2023-01-16.
  40. ^ Laura Hale (2005-05-05). "Gossamer is great. :) You can..." Archived from the original on 2023-01-16.