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.
“To our knowledge,” write the editors of Zora, “no one has ever compiled a comprehensive list specifically featuring the finest literary works produced by African American women authors. We decided to undertake that effort both to honor that still underappreciated group of writers and to provide [readers] with a handy reference guide to their work. ”
The books were compiled in consultation with a panel of academics, critics, authors, editors, and authorities on African American women’s literature, who each added to the final list. The result was 100 works spanning more than a century and a half in a huge variety of genres and styles, including novels, plays, poetry, memoirs, anthologies, and scholarly works. “Taken together,” write the editors, “the works don’t just make up a novel canon; they form a revealing mosaic of the Black American experience during the time period. They’re also just great reads. ”
As part of our commitment to offering Universal Access to All Knowledge, the Internet Archive works to share literature from diverse perspectives—which is why we were pleased to discover that most of the books in the Zora Canon are already available in our collections. Many of them are available for checkout—all you have to do is sign up for a digital library card—while a few are in the public domain, allowing anybody to download them without limitation. Some of the books that aren’t yet available can be added through our Book Sponsorship program, so that future readers can discover and enjoy them.
If you’d like to read some of the books on the list, check out the links below! If you want to expand your reading further, you can also browse our #1000 Black Girl Books Collection (which features a range of books with Black girls and women as the protagonists) or our full list of works by Zora Neale Hurston. Happy reading!
Saturday is April 4th (4/04), and here at the Internet Archive we’re marking a new holiday: 404 Day! We’re using this date to celebrate the work that’s being done to end the dreaded 404 error, record changing webpages, and preserve the internet for all to enjoy. We spoke with Gary Price—librarian, editor of InfoDocket, and a prolific user of the Wayback Machine—about why web archiving is important and how ordinary people can fight back against “link rot.”
Preserving the Past
Why does the Wayback Machine matter? “We’re in a period right now where the tools the Internet Archive has developed are more important than ever before,” Price said. “In my work as a librarian I’ve learned how easily things can ‘disappear’. Something you see could be removed within a fraction of a second, and the next time you look it’s gone.”
Similar losses have happened for newly developed media in the past, Price explained. For example, a huge amount of early television footage disappeared because nobody recorded or archived it at the time. The issue is compounded when dealing with a massive system like the Internet, which is constantly growing and changing. “There’s really nothing like the Wayback Machine,” he said. “It’s so important for historical purposes.”
Price believes that it’s even more crucial to preserve information in the midst of a crisis. “With COVID-19,” he said, “we have a global event going on where nobody knows how it’s going to end. Most of it is going to play out on the Internet. If we don’t archive it now, the record for the future is not going to be as complete as it could have been. We need to make it so that we’ll have a complete record of this pandemic to learn from: primary documents, news reports, local materials, and digital ephemera.”
Making the Most of the Wayback Machine
There are a number of useful tools that can make the Wayback Machine part of your daily internet experience. If you want to avoid running into 404 errors in the future, then the easiest thing you can do is integrate the Wayback Machine into your browser. We’ve created a handy series of browser extensions for Safari, Chrome, and Firefox that allow you to view archived versions of webpages with just the click of a button. And if you use the Brave browser, that functionality is directly integrated into the browsing experience!
Curious about how a webpage has shifted over time? The Changes feature is an easy way to compare two versions of the same webpage side-by-side. We deployed this feature last fall to make it easier than ever to see how the web is evolving.
In addition to the hundreds of millions of URLs archived by the Wayback Machine staff every day, several tens of millions of URLs are archived because they were submitted by the general public via the Save Page Now feature. If you come across something that you think needs to be preserved, you can use this tool to ensure that the Wayback Machine captures a snapshot of it. It’s as simple as visiting web.archive.org/save and pasting your desired URL in. If you have the browser plugin, you can save any page you visit with the click of a button!
What advice does Price have for beginning archivers? “The first thing to do,” he says, “is to sign up for an Internet Archive account. It gives you a lot of great features, but my favorite is the option to not only archive a page, but also to archive all of those outbound links in that page.”
Price also recommends that new users make their archiving personal. “Just start recording things you’re already looking at on a daily basis! The articles you read, interesting websites, information pages from your university, local news, and so on. It doesn’t take a long time—you’re already reading the webpage, so just press the ‘Save Page Now’ button.”
Since big news stories or major websites are usually crawled automatically, Price recommends that citizen archivists make sure to include local, personal, and small-scale websites. “It’s about the little stuff, the obscure stuff, the stuff that’s buried three layers deep. That’s not going to get covered in the same way as the most popular content, and it might not get covered at all if you don’t add it. That’s why the individual doing it is so important.”
Last but not least, Price says, “Do what you can! Add stuff that you’re interested in or think is worth saving. Make it a habit, and spread the word to people you know!”
“Quarantine,” “isolation,” “social distancing”—there are a lot of names for the same problem. Millions of people are being forced to alter their schedules and stay indoors due to the spread of COVID 19 (coronavirus). If you’re stuck at home, you may be asking yourself exactly what you’re going to do all day… and the Internet Archive is here to help!
If you’ve got an internet connection and some time to kill,
there are plenty of ways to keep yourself entertained. Here are some of our