April 15, 2024

7 Fun Ways to Use Internet Archive

In 1996, as the Internet continued to welcome new websites at a rapid pace, Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat noticed something worrying: Websites were also disappearing rather quickly. So they founded the Internet Archive, an organization with the means to crawl the web and save its pages for the historical record. For the first few years, the Internet Archive’s digital catalog of all those preserved web pages was private. But in 2001, Kahle and Gilliat allowed the public to begin examining the so-called “Wayback Machine” as well.

Since then, the Internet Archive’s mission has evolved from simply preserving Internet history to “providing universal access to all human knowledge,” and the site has expanded far beyond the boundaries of the Wayback Machine. Today, it is basically a huge, multifaceted digital library that has every type of media under the sun.

Here are seven fun ways to use it.

The Wayback Machine: Named after Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show—is still alive and well, hosting over 860 billion web pages and counting. The home page features a banner that cycles through a set of pages from years past (for example, the 1996 White House website), but you can also search for keywords or entire URLs in the search bar at the bottom. superior. You could, for example, see which DVDs Netflix.com (or NetFlix.com, rather) was promoting on April 27, 1999. (Among them are Antz, The water bearerand I still know what you did last summer.)

The Wayback Machine is also a useful solution that you can try every time you click on a link that takes you to an error page (or redirects you to a site’s home page). Simply enter the original URL into the Wayback Machine and open an older version of that page.

Illustration of a person pushing a giant tablet with bookshelves inside.

The collection is bigger than this. / Emin Kelekci/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

It’s worth checking out the IA Text Archive for any books your local library doesn’t have: there are more than 39 million texts of all types in the collection, many of them uploaded through collaborations with institutions like the Library of Congress and the Boston Public Library. .

While everything in the public domain is available for unlimited reading, certain copyrighted works have restrictions. AI practices controlled digital lending, a system in which a physical book is digitized and that digital copy is lent to one person at a time. The idea is that once you buy a book, you can borrow it from anyone; As long as you don’t lend the physical copy while the digitized version is on loan, or lend the digitized version to more than one borrower at a time, the process should not technically violate any copyright laws.

However, since publishers sell electronic editions of printed books as a separate product, not everyone agrees with that logic, and a coalition of publishers recently won a lawsuit against the AI ​​over some of its lending policies. All this to say that if a book is still in print and If there is an e-book edition on the market, it will probably not be available for AI borrowing (with exceptions, including those made for people with disabilities that affect reading). But the AI ​​is free to continue lending out-of-print books without an electronic edition.

Your magazine stash may be limited to what can fit on your bookshelf, but Internet Archive’s is not. The Magazine Rack contains about 383,000 digital issues of magazines (mostly) organized by themes: knitting, wrestling, humor, etc. If you read one of Rack’s issues ANGRY magazine every day, it would take you about 15 months to read them.

IA’s Live Music Archive is a treasure trove for avid concert-goers, featuring over 264,000 audio files of complete live concerts. Everything in the collection “comes from trade-friendly artists who have opted in and is strictly non-commercial, both for access here and any subsequent distribution,” according to the AI, and “the artists’ commercial releases are prohibited”.

It’s an amazing way to relive a concert you saw or experience one you’d like to attend. Deadheads, rejoice: the Grateful Dead folder contains over 17,000 uploads, making it the largest by far. Elliott Smith, Tegan and Sara and John Mayer are some other artists whose work is well represented in the archive.

Moving Image Archive is the AI ​​hub for all video content, from movies and TV shows to technical instructional videos. (There’s also a “Music Video Bar” where Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” is the most viewed video with over half a million views.)

You can enjoy a rich selection of Lucille Ball episodes. The Lucy Show and an even meatier chunk of Charlie Chaplin’s early work, not to mention Old Hollywood classics like Your Friday girl (1940) and White House (1942). While much of the content in the Moving Image Archive is available on other platforms, there is an advantage to watching it here: you don’t have to deal with ads.

AI lets you tap into the youthful joy of spending hours at the arcade in the form of Internet Arcade, which features digital versions of nearly 2,700 coin-operated games from the 1970s to the 1990s.Q*Berto, Paperboy, Joust, marble madnessetc.

Making physical arcade games work in a digital space, especially one where people use multiple devices and browsers, isn’t always a perfect process. If you’re having trouble playing, archivist Jason Scott and Armchair Arcade have helpful troubleshooting tips.

Taking advantage of the Internet Archive’s resources is a great way to support its mission; In fact, contributing resources to the site is another. Needless to say, copyright laws apply: you can’t just upload, say, the entire file. Barbie movie and I hope Warner Bros. is okay with it. But anything that’s in the public domain is definitely fair game, as is your own content. If you want to give the world a chance to read your great-grandparents’ love letters or watch the short films you made in college, the Internet Archive will happily host them. Learn how to upload files here.

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