Guest post by Kay Savetz, professional web publisher and amateur Atari historian
For years I hunted for the answer to the question: who wrote the adverting tagline “Have you played Atari today?” Atari started using it in print advertisements on April 1, 1982. Soon after, the words were sung in a jingle in many Atari TV commercials. As an Atari historian, the question plagued me: who wrote those words?
My computer historian colleagues didn’t know. I asked Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari. He thought it might have come from their ad agency at the time, Doyle Dane Bernbach. But when both a colleague and I separately reached out to DDB, we hit dead ends. I searched Internet Archive, commercial newspaper archives, and library collections, all in vain.
In 2021 I created a script called TIARA — The Internet Archive Research Assistant — which searches Internet Archive every day for newly uploaded items that match my selected words and phrases. (You can get the script free from https://github.com/savetz/tiara). It diligently searched for “Have you played Atari today?” daily, with no hint to the answer to my question.
Until June 2022 — when there was a hit. A book called “Graphis New Talent Annual 2016” had been scanned just the day before by Internet Archive’s scanning center in the Philippines. The book was available for immediate online borrowing. I checked it out for an hour, and had the answer I needed in just a minute. There on page 7 is a bio for Robert Wain Mackall, which says that he wrote the “Have you played Atari today?” tagline while working at Doyle Dane Bernbach.
Finally, there was my answer! Internet Archive’s relentless scanning of books, its lending library, its full-text search capability, and my little TIARA script delivered a fact that I had been seeking for years.
What are some things you’re exploring on the Internet Archive? Tell us in the comments!
The Internet has revolutionized everything from how we work to how we play—even how we do our holiday shopping. Although there’s a lot of advertising, spin, and flashy discounts crowding the Web, there are also hidden gems and common goods. This Cyber Monday, we’re celebrating the original promise of cyberspace: a place where anyone can share knowledge freely.
From the beginning, the Internet Archive was meant to be a Library of Everything for the digital age. Not only would it be a resource available to the entire world, but it would be a step forward into the future—smarter than paper and more accessible than a physical library. For 25 years we’ve been building the our collections, with help from our community every step of the way. Your support has always been crucial for our work.
Right now we’re in the middle of our End of Year fundraising campaign. Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, all gifts received through December 31, 2021 will be matched 2-to-1, tripling the impact of your generosity towards this valuable resource. If you find our website useful, please consider donating to help us continue to expand and grow.
The Internet Archive is home to billions of webpages; millions of books, videos, audio files, and images; and hundreds of thousands of software programs. Making that much data freely available to our more than 1.5 million daily users comes with a cost. Your donations will ensure that our servers can keep running, our storage can grow, and our staff can continue to maintain our systems and infrastructure.
If you can’t imagine a future without access to our vast collections, please make a tax-deductible donation today. Big or small, we promise to put your donation to good use as we continue to further Universal Access to All Knowledge.
Simply text ARCHIVE to 44321 and you’ll receive a secure link that you can use to make a gift. You can select a preset amount or enter your own, and choose whether to set up a monthly donation or make a one-time contribution. Payments can be sent via credit card, Google Pay/Apple Pay, or by connecting your bank account directly.
So you’ve created an Internet Archive account—now what? Your account serves as a digital library card that lets you engage with our collections in unique ways. While our resources can always be accessed for free without signing in, having an account gives you some special abilities as you begin exploring the archive. Here are a few ways to get started!
Is there something in the archive you keep coming back to again and again? The Favorites feature lets you mark your preferred items and collections for future reference—simply click the star underneath any item to save it to your profile.
You can also use your archive.org account to leave reviews on the items that you come across. If you want to share your love for a specific 78 or classic film, simply click “Add Review” at the bottom of the item page!
Today the United States commemorates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr—one of history’s most influential advocates for peace, equality, and civil rights. As a free digital library, the Internet Archive is home to thousands of books, texts, videos, images, and other materials on his work and impact. Here are a few ways you can use our materials to celebrate the life of Dr. King!
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.
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!
As an independent nonprofit library, the Internet Archive is powered by donations from individual users, and every little bit helps. But have you ever wondered how your donations are used? Or what impact your giving has on our work? The contributions we receive are crucial to continuing our mission—here are a few ways they help!
The Internet Archive builds and maintains all of its own infrastructure, rather than contracting it out. Right now we’re holding more than 70 petabytes of data, including millions of books, hundreds of millions of webpages, and thousands of collections focused on everything from video gaming to opera music. That’s a lot of storage space!
All those servers need people to build and maintain them. The website needs programmers to develop it, the collections need archivists to organize them, and our patrons need librarians to answer their questions. We employ 150 people around the world to scan books, build software, maintain data centers, acquire new materials, and find ways to make the archive better for our users. That’s a small staff for one of the world’s top 300 websites—and in 2020, they’ve stretched even farther by working remotely to keep the archive online. Most of our employees could make more at a profit-driven company, but they’ve chosen instead to work at a nonprofit where every dollar counts and the mission comes first.
Most importantly, the generosity of our users is used to fund our work! These projects include the Wayback Machine, a crucial tool for preserving the history of the web. In an era of disinformation and misinformation, having documentation of what’s being said and who’s saying it is absolutely critical—and your donations help us keep the record straight.
We also use patron contributions to run the Open Library, a free, digital lending library of over 4 million eBooks that can be read in a browser or downloaded for reading off-line. It costs us just $20 to acquire, digitize, and preserve a book forever, making it available to readers around the world—and thanks to the contributions from our patrons, we’re always adding to the stacks!
In the middle of a tumultuous period, peace is more important than ever. This year, the Internet Archive celebrated the International Day of Peace with a screening of the film Infinite Potential: The Life & Ideas of David Bohm—an exploration of a maverick physicist who turned to Eastern wisdom for insights into the profound interconnectedness of the universe and our place within it. Hosted by the Fetzer Memorial Trust and Imagine Films on September 20th, the event also included a special panel discussion on how Bohm’s ideas can be translated into a pathway to peace in the modern world.
Infinite Potential examines the life of David Bohm, a theoretical physicist from Pennsylvania who was forced to flee the United States during the Cold War due to his Communist leanings. Pursuing his research in Brazil, Israel, and the United Kingdom, he was exposed to a wide variety of different ideas and ideologies, which all shaped his interests in quantum physics, philosophy, and the nature of consciousness. His relationships with thinkers such as Jiddu Krishnamurti and Albert Einstein further shaped his ideas, leading him to develop unique theories about the fundamental nature of reality and our perception of it.
The screening of the documentary was followed by a panel entitled Quantum Potential: A Pathway to Peace, featuring several prominent leaders and activists. These included Dot Maver, Founding President of the National Peace Academy; Reverend Dr. Michael B. Beckwith, Founder and Spiritual Director of the Agape International Spiritual Center; Audrey Kitagawa, Board Chair of the Parliament of World Religions; Civil rights leader Reverend Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr.; Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation; and Marianne Williamson, a bestselling author, political activist and spiritual thought leader. Panel members discussed how Bohm’s ideas could be applied to our society, ways in which individuals could advance peace and unity, and why the interconnectedness of humanity matters now more than ever.
As students around the world resume their education, millions of learners are facing uncertainty about school schedules, class formats, and online study. As a nonprofit dedicated to Universal Access to All Knowledge, the Internet Archive provides a number of free resources for parents, students, teachers, and librarians around the world—check out these tools for remote learning!
Of course, one of the best ways to support your child’s education is by reading to and with them. The Internet Archive’s Open Library contains thousands of children’s books to check out and enjoy together.
In these tumultuous times, we want to make sure that students have the tools they need to learn—and we couldn’t offer the resources we do without the help of our partners, donors, and supporters everywhere. Whether you’re looking for homework help, teaching via videoconference, or finding new ways to support your patrons, we hope that our collections prove useful to you.
Stay safe and healthy, and thanks for using the archive!
Summer is in full swing, but in many areas recreational facilities are closed and gatherings limited. Wondering how to stay entertained when movie theaters, pools, summer camps, amusement parks, playgrounds, concerts, and sporting events are all canceled or closed? The Internet Archive has a huge number of resources that you can use to make your own fun. Here are a few ideas for activities you can do in small groups, outdoors, for free, AND while using our collections!
There’s nothing quite like a good book enjoyed in the shade of a leafy tree. Grab a blanket, hammock, or lawn chair; pick a title from the Internet Archive’s Open Library; and go read something fun at the beach, on a hilltop, in your city park, by a flower patch, in the woods, next to a river, or even just in your own backyard.
Stargazing is the perfect way to wrap up a summer evening. If you want a guide to the night sky, check out these books on constellations and amateur astronomy. And if you can’t get a good view of the sky from where you’re at, then browse our NASA collections to enjoy a view of the cosmos from wherever you are.