Take a trip WayBack in time

WayBack Machine logo

Several years ago I discovered the Internet Archive Wayback Machine this is an archive of the internet and other digital content. It allows you to enter a web address and visit archived versions of web sites, you can also link to sites you find in the WayBack Machine so it can be a great to use with students.

With the rapid changes of websites and digital content having an archive of what has been done and where we have been is not something many of us think about. We create our web pages and then add changes as we need, these changes then overwrite the original pages so previous information is lost. The WayBack Machine allows you to view the previous content and keep it for prosperity, by creating this archive of digital content they are preserving our culture and heritage that in this digital age may otherwise be lost.

When I first found this I thought it would be a great teaching tool to use with my student who were learning about the internet and creating web pages. To be able to view websites and pages that are no longer being hosted is a great service. I soon discovered that access to this site was blocked and students could not access it on campus (and yes I did request to get it unblocked) So I ended up taking screen dumps and creating power point presentations to show the students how websites have developed and changed. How moving graphics and a lot of unnecessarily information has been coming off a lot of sites when the owners of these sites have analysed who their viewers are and how long it can take to view the site. This of course is not always the case with many big business’s still having large images and pages full of text when all you want to do is log in and check your account.

Anyway back to the Wayback Machine they were founded in 1996 and are a “non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format”. So they are” 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, and the general public.” This archive currently includes includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages .

WayBack Machine

The way it works is that you can enter the web address of any website and view an archive of all their pages. There automated systems crawl the web every few months so a continual archive of the web is compiled. You can also contribute digital content to be archived. Check out their FAQ’s for more information about how it all works, and just if you were wondering how big it is it contains almost 2 petabytes of data and is currently growing at a rate of 20 terabytes per month.

Go have a look and just to get you started go visit my first website from 1999 & 2001., its enough to make me cringe, jumping dolphins and dancing email boxes…..How things have changed since 1999 my current website is now very plain and definatley less flashy and I think I like this better. Some would differ with me in this as my friend Sue has pointed out we should be adding more glitter and jazzing things up, I think I will leave that to her.