2020 has been a year to remember—and as we approach the new year, we’re taking some time to reflect. In the spirit of giving, the Internet Archive has worked hard to give back to those who need our services most, and we’re incredibly grateful for those who have lent us a hand. Thanks to the support of our community, patrons, partners, and donors, we’ve been able to accomplish some significant achievements in the past twelve months. Here are a few highlights from a year nobody can forget.
In 2020 we grew from 40 million to 65 million public media items, including texts, images, videos, and audio files. Right now, we’re storing over 70 petabytes of data (equivalent to the contents of 186 million filing cabinets) and serve more than 1.5 million visitors daily. The Wayback Machine has grown rapidly, too; right now there are 475 billion web pages archived inside it, and we’re capturing another 750 million pages every single day! We made a number of improvements to our systems to handle this growth—this fall, we installed a fiber optic connection at our headquarters in San Francisco, allowing us to drastically expand our bandwidth in response to increased demand.
Some Literary Love
As a library, we pay special attention to books, and this was a year to remember. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched the temporary National Emergency Library this spring. In the middle of a massive public health crisis, we provided digital access to essential books for students, teachers, library patrons, and quarantined citizens who were cut off from their libraries and schools. Educational professionals everywhere relied on us for access to digital materials, and the National Library of Aruba utilized our resources to provide study resources for thousands of students preparing to take high school graduation exams while their island was shut down.
This year we also added to and expanded our collections with some fascinating new finds. In August, the Tytell Typewriter Company donated thousands of manuals, records, books, and even historic machines to be preserved for future generations. Marygrove College, a social-justice oriented liberal arts college that was forced to close this year, donated its entire library to be digitized and shared on the Internet Archive, reopening the stacks in October. And although support for Flash is ending in just a few weeks, this November we launched browser emulation for hundreds of games, animations, and other cultural artifacts—letting anyone take a trip back in time to the early 2000s.
Building a Better Web
In 2020, we also took steps to make the web a better, more reliable place. Through a partnership with Cloudflare, we made it possible in September for website creators to provide archived versions of their pages when the current site is down. A new integration in February allowed us to bring the Wayback Machine natively into the Brave web browser. And when alarms were raised about open access journals disappearing, we took steps to preserve crucial scientific knowledge for future use.
Paying It Forward
Finally, we had a record-breaking year when it came to philanthropy. Although the challenges we faced were greater than ever before, our donors stepped up in a big way. More than 73,000 people donated to the Internet Archive this year, making contributions big and small—from the thousands of patrons who gave a few dollars apiece, to a $250,000 gift from Fiona and Toby Lütke, founder of Shopify. We’ve been hard at work making sure that all donations are put to good use; when an anonymous donor this season asked that we invest a portion of his gift in our staff, we chose to pay it forward to promote diversity and equity. This year we also implemented new ways to donate, and came up with new ways our supporters can lend a hand without leaving the house. We’re so incredibly grateful for everybody who chose to help us out!
2020 has brought unprecedented challenges—but this year as in every year, the Internet Archive has been hard at work ensuring that trustworthy information is available to anybody who wants it. Thank you for supporting our preservation efforts.
Be safe, have a happy holiday season, and enjoy the archive!