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The Internet Archive is a fascinating collection of site archives, snapshots and other data recording the internet's growth and history.

The Internet Archive is one of those sites that you could spend hours just browsing around. They've really gone the extra mile and are providing video and audio archives as well. It's an amazing site.

The Internet Archive's "Wayback Machine" is extra cool, and a great resource if the website or page you were looking for has dropped off of the internet. It might still be in the Wayback Machine! Quoting the site: "The Internet Archive Wayback Machine puts the history of the World Wide Web at your fingertips. The Archive contains over 100 terabytes and 10 billion web pages archived from 1996 to the present."

Here's a great example: Microsoft's home page in 1996. Lots of broken links to pictures, but the text is still there and quite telling. It's 1996, and Visual Basic 5 is featured, and "See What's New in Microsoft Publisher 97!!" is a prominent headline. (And you can "Win a 97 Ford Explorer"!)

Another example is when the popular reference site Black Viper inexplicably dropped off the internet. The Internet Archive came to the rescue, providing a backup archive of the pages that so many people found useful. (Searching for that site on The Internet Archive today also shows what kind of control site owners have over allowing their content to be archived.)

It's a powerful tool, and just a fun and interesting resource.

The Internet Archive

I recommend it.

Article C2484 - December 9, 2005 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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1 Comment
February 1, 2012 1:51 PM

A word of caution when visiting Internet Archive.
Unless you are a strong willed person, expect to spend way too much time browsing through a treasure trove of great historical items.
My suggestions:
[Perlinger film archives[1], old cigarette ads, the first Betty Boop & Felix cartoons, screen captures of Atari videos]

[1] These are the classic 50's-60's educational b&w films you were forced to watch in school,"how to be liked", "your first date", "table manners", and the creepy one about....well you'll find it".

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