Canadian Musician Relies on Wayback Machine for Immigration Documentation

This post is part of our ongoing series highlighting how our patrons and partners use the Internet Archive to further their own research and programs.

David Samuel, a Canadian-born viola player, has lived all over the world working as a professional musician. A graduate of The Juilliard School, he lived in Europe and New Zealand before settling in San Francisco two years ago.

As Samuel works through the U.S. immigration process to get his permanent residence (green) card, he has turned to the Internet Archive for help in gathering documentation. He’s applying for residency under the “extraordinary ability” category. To make the case, he needs to put together an extensive resume of his accomplishments, awards and reviews in the arts.

Samuel performs and teaches in the Bay Area, as a member of the Alexander String Quartet and a lecturer at San Francisco State University. Using the Wayback Machine, he was able to track down website postings and programs about his past concerts to use in his application. “It was quite remarkable to find the exact dates and times of past performances,” said Samuel. “It would have been really tough otherwise, because I only have a limited number of actual physical documents with me.”

The application process is grueling, Samuel said, but being able to freely search for supporting evidence on the Wayback Machine has made it easier. “It’s been an important tool for me,” said Samuel, who heard about the Internet Archive years ago. “It’s like an encyclopedia for the history of the internet.”

David Samuel