The Fascinating Wayback Machine, aka the Internet Archive

If you’ve never heard of it, here’s a brief description of the Internet Archive, commonly referred to as the Wayback Machine, from its web site:

The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print disabled, and the general public. Our mission is to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge.

We began in 1996 by archiving the Internet itself, a medium that was just beginning to grow in use. Like newspapers, the content published on the web was ephemeral – but unlike newspapers, no one was saving it. Today we have 20+ years of web history accessible through the Wayback Machine and we work with 625+ library and other partners through our Archive-It program to identify important web pages.

I found it fascinating to go back as early as I could and look st the early days of the Internet.

Here’s a screenshot of my Villanova homepage from 2001. Hard to believe this was 19 years ago You may recognize the photo – it’s Dennis Quaid. It was way better than any picture I could have put up of myself (the picture you can barely see at the bottom is my high school graduation photo). I still remember the day one of my students stopped by my office early in the semester and somehow we got talking about my homepage. She said that her roommate had come across my homepage and said “Your teacher is really hot.”  How disappointing it must have been that first day of class…

Here’s what my first blog post looked like, on January 1, 2015:

And now here are some more famous web site, from way back:

Google (1998):

Amazon (1999):

TheFacebook (2004):

Apple (1997):

Microsoft (1998):

Twitter (2006):

*image from Programming Shots


44 thoughts on “The Fascinating Wayback Machine, aka the Internet Archive

  1. What a sneaky way to get students into your accounting classes, Jim! I had not heard of this organization, but their efforts are so worthwhile. More than 100,000 pages are added to the internet everyday, at least the last time I checked. Like any library, the curation and retention of many of these are important to our recorded history. Great post, Jim, giving me one more thing to spend my time online playing with!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to have Siri respond to my query “Who am I” with “A George Clooney look-a-like”. I guess I had too much time on my hands that day, and perhaps a beer or two.

        And thank you for the award! You are too kind…

        Liked by 1 person

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