Another NECC Find: Archiving the Internet

My wife misses the old days of when we would go to the one hour photo and pick up our pictures from vacations/family gatherings/fill-in-the-blank. Occasionally we’ll pull out the albums and relive the old times with fondness (sans the bell bottoms) as we look at the family history before us. All of a sudden, the albums stop chronologically when the digital camera came upon the scene. Like the commercial of stored pictures that never leave the camera, our pictures are archiving on the computer. Imagine my terror one evening when the computer showed the blue screen of death, and the pictures were ON THE HARD DRIVE. I didn’t know what I feared the most: loss of the pictures or a slow death from my wife. Luckily, after breathing deeply, I remembered that I backed everything up on discs.

What happens to stuff on the Internet? Since there’s no hard copy, where does everything go when a website disappears? Is there any hope of retrieving information?

M. Yoder of Lesley University discussed a great website that does just this–The Wayback Machine at Internet Archives. Borrowing from their website:

Browse through over 150 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. To start surfing the Wayback, type in the web address of a site or page where you would like to start, and press enter. Then select from the archived dates available. The resulting pages point to other archived pages at as close a date as possible. Keyword searching is not currently supported.

Internet Archives has a wealth of other resources, such as moving images, live music archives, audio, and texts. The site is definitely worth tagging on your Delicious account.

And, by the way, after my next paycheck, I’m printing the pictures. I just wonder how many albums I’ll need to buy.