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The Internet Archive


For students unfamiliar with the Internet Archive, this will provide a crash course on the website that is a great supplemental addition to their universities’ libraries.

This 13-minute video demonstrates the vastness of this online, free library, as well as some of the logistics to build and maintain it. The library features archived websites, books, TV, and songs. It is well worth the watch.

The video provides a heavy dose of Brewster Kahle, as he gives tours and explains the logistics of the Wayback Machine. This program clicks on every link on an Internet page and archives the results. Because the Internet is virtually infinite, they have prioritized the most important pages with the goal of archiving those pages ever two months. The Wayback Machine has been doing this since 1996.

The best part is all of it is readily available for Internet users, allowing them to discover how the Internet appeared on a specific date. This is invaluable for those seeking deceased websites, but it will be even more valuable to historians of the future that want to write about our time. About 500,000 people use it every day and you were probably one of them.

As for books, they have over 3 million books. They are aiming for 10 million books, but there are over 100 million published books in the world. They have aspirations grab all of them.

The logistics of maintaining the servers is fascinating as well. For example, after pumping cool air into the servers, the servers then pump the air out hot. The hot air then goes through their inactive furnace, which then heats the building. They believe this makes them the first 100% efficient data center.

Brewster Kahle’s philosophy is to make everything free and readily available. He believes the reason we lost everything in Alexandria is that the people who ran it were too proud to make copies and store them elsewhere. As such, Kahle has sought to create copies of the Internet Archive and store them in other political areas.

As Kahle puts it, “Access drives preservation.” He wants to avoid some “dark archive,” which “is the worst possible idea.” He believes, “It’s keeping things in use, active that keeps it part of the mindshare. It keeps people knowing about it, liking it, caring for it. So I think the best way to preserve things is to make things accessible.”

Give the video a watch and check out the Internet Archive.

By Scott Manning
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor