The Internet Archive Wayback Machine

Screen shots of the Wayback Machine statistics for
My Voyage Through Time and The Drawings of Leonardo.

Did you really think that web site was gone?? One of my all time favorite tools in my digital arsenal includes the Wayback Machine. If you have never heard of it, be prepared to blow your mind. Most of you know that I like things that creep and crawl, but this web crawler absolutely rocks. The Wayback Machine is basically a digital time portal. The portal is a repository for snapshots of the living internet. With the machine, you can “browse through over 150 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. To start surfing the Wayback, type in the web address of a site or page where you would like to start, and press enter. Then select from the archived dates available.” At some point this site is sure to be full text searchable, but unfortunately it is not there yet. In the mid 90s, Bruce Gilliat and Brewster Kahle (of Internet Archive- a California based non-profit organization) created a web crawler capable of capturing publicly accessible digital information. Someone had to do it! 🙂 Gilliat, Kahle, and their team collaborated with the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress on this mind bending project. Because of obvious changes in browsers and such, the pages don’t always look perfect, but the data is there. I searched for my web site just out of curiosity. What?? I got a big red exclamation point with a corresponding note reading “The Wayback Machine hasn’t archived a capture for that URL. Here’s a capture taken 0 minutes ago from the live web that will become part of the permanent archive in a few months.” Well at least my data will be archived now! If my web site gets taken out by a hacker “boooyeahhh!” Haha… It’s kinda like a site backup people… I ran another check of one of my favorite sites The Drawings of Leonardo, and found that the site has been archived 194 times since 2001. There is a timeline and you can click away to see what the site looked like at any of those 194 points in time. Of course since these captures are live snapshots of the internet, they are indeed records. The records have been used as legal evidence in court cases. There have also been many challenges for this team of technologically savvy archive geniuses. Some people don’t like for data and history to live on, but I am an archivist, so I gotta luv it! Check out the Wayback Machine if you haven’t. It is sure to pop your top!

Explore posts in the same categories: Archives, Code and Script, Computer Programming, Computers, Digital Archives, Digital Issues, Edification, History, Library of Congress, Museums, Random Ramble, Software and Hardware, Technology, Worthy Reads

2 Comments on “The Internet Archive Wayback Machine”

  1. 3DCitizen Says:

    I liked the smithsonian before, but now they truly take the biscuit! This is awesome! Thank you for sharing it.

    • flujan Says:

      I know right… Wait ’till you see my post on stuff going on with NARA. I think you will appreciate that! I am attending the NAGARA/CoSA Conference right now. That project—talk about a mind boggle!


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