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Guestbooks, in their physical or digital form, serve as registers where visitors can record their details and feedback. These are commonly found in places like private residences, public institutions, and notably in settings such as weddings, churches, B&Bs, museums, and schools. Whether they take the form of paper-based ledgers, special registers in hotels, or Books of Condolence, their purpose remains the same. Digital guestbooks offer a modern twist, providing a platform for website visitors to leave public comments without the necessity of creating a user account. They also provide valuable insights into visitor demographics and feedback. The primary function of guestbooks, regardless of their form, is to recognize the presence of a visitor, collect their information, and procure feedback to make necessary improvements. Historians and scholars often find these guestbooks fascinating as they provide visitor statistics and facilitate future interactions. However, issues like guestbook spam can arise, and resources regarding guestbooks on Wikimedia Commons are available for further information.

Guestbook (Wikipedia)

A guestbook (also guest book, visitor log, visitors' book, visitors' album) is a paper or electronic means for a visitor to acknowledge a visit to a site, physical or web-based, and leave details such as their name, postal or electronic address and any comments. Such paper-based ledgers or books are traditional in churches, at weddings, funerals, B&Bs, museums, schools, institutions and other private facilities open to the public. Some private homes keep visitors' books. Specialised forms of guestbooks include hotel registers, wherein guests are required to provide their contact information, and Books of Condolence, which are used at funeral homes and more generally after notable public deaths, such as the death of a monarch or president, or after a public disaster, such as an airplane crash.

Norwegian Minister of Defense Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen signs a guestbook at the Pentagon in 2007
Hussein of Jordan signs the Golden Book of Hamburg.
Armenian President Armen Sarkissian signs the guestbook at the Department of State.
A guestbook from the Salant Hotel, held by the National Library of Israel

On the web, a guestbook is a logging system that allows visitors of a website to leave a public comment. It is possible in some guestbooks for visitors to express their thoughts about the website or its subject. Generally, they do not require the poster to create a user account, as it is an informal method of dropping off a quick message. The purpose of a website guestbook is to display the kind of visitors the site gets, including the part of the world they reside in, and gain feedback from them. This allows the webmaster to assess and improve their site. A guestbook is generally a script, which is usually remotely hosted and written in a language such as Perl, PHP, Python or ASP. Many free guestbook hosts and scripts exist.

Names and addresses provided in guestbooks, paper-based or electronic, are frequently recorded and collated for use in providing statistics about visitors to the site, and to contact visitors to the site in the future. Because guestbooks are considered ephemeral objects, historians, literary scholars and other academic researchers have been increasingly eager to identify and help conserve them.

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