The not-for-profit Internet Archive has celebrated 20 years of archiving the World Wide Web with an event at its landmark San Francisco headquarters (which are pictured above). The Internet Archive provides access to millions of free electronic resources including books, movies, software, music, and websites.
Established with great foresight at a time when few people realised the need to save information from the Web, the Internet Archive’s well-known Wayback Machine now provides access to an archive containing more than 273 billion web pages and more than 510 billion web objects. Algorithms crawl the Web and constantly take snapshots of websites, with the number of archived pages growing at the rate of more than 500 million a week.
The Wayback Machine facilitates access to long-gone websites, for example Yahoo! GeoCities which was once the world’s largest online community. It also enables the comparison of website changes over time.
The Internet Archive’s highlights over the past 20 years include working with over 1,000 libraries in building the archive, rescuing more than a million links to external websites from Wikipedia, and recently launching a new, easier search feature for the Wayback Machine.