SAN FRANCISCO (October 24, 2001) - The Internet Archive, a comprehensive library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form, today launched the Wayback Machine, a free service allowing people to access and use archived versions of past web pages. For the first time, all members of the public will be able to search and view the Internet Archive's enormous collection of web sites, dating back to 1996 and comprising over 10 billion web pages.
The service, which was unveiled tonight at a ceremony at the University of California at Berkeley's Bancroft Library, is available at web.archive.org. To use the Wayback Machine, visitors simply type in a URL in the provided search box, select a date, and then begin surfing on an archived version of the web.
"In 1996, we created the Internet Archive because we felt it was critical to preserve a permanent record of this historically significant new medium for the public," said Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle. "To date, the Archive has catalogued over ten billion web pages that might otherwise have been lost, giving us both a record of the origins and evolution of the Internet, as well as snapshots of our society as a whole around the turn of the century. For our fifth anniversary, we are opening up the Archive to the public by launching the Wayback Machine, so that everyone can travel back in time and view the Internet as it was in the past-and as it matures into the future."
Since 1996, when the Internet Archive was founded in order to create a permanent collection of digital material for the public, the Internet Archive has been storing and recording web pages. Collaborating with institutions including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution, the Internet Archive's comprehensive library of the Web's digital past comprises 100 terabytes of data and is growing at a rate of 10 terabytes per month, eclipsing the amount of data contained in every library in the world including the Library of Congress, and making it the largest known database in existence.
"By keeping an historical record of what Web sites looked like and how they evolved over time, the Internet Archive is an invaluable resource for journalism educators, academic researchers and people who just want to see how the media and our culture marked important historical events," said Paul Grabowicz, Director of the New Media Program and Assistant Dean at Northgate UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. "Now, thanks to the Archive's new Wayback Machine, everyone has the opportunity to revisit, study and enjoy these important 'first drafts of history'."
About the Internet Archive
The Internet Archive was founded in 1996 in order to build a digital library and other cultural artifacts in digital form, with the purpose of offering permanent and free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public. The Archive holds a collection of archived web pages, dating from 1996 and comprising 100 terabytes. Since 1999, the Archive has expanded its collections to include: a September 11 television and online catalog; an Election 2000 online library; archived movies from 1903-1973; and other documents. Located in San Francisco, the Archive is a 501(c)(3) public nonprofit whose benefactors include Alexa Internet, AT&T Research, Compaq, the Kahle/Austin Foundation, Prelinger Archives, Quantum DLT, Xerox PARC, the Library of Congress, and the National Science Foundation.