Obscure Box

Thoughts from inside the obscure box

April 21, 2008

The Wayback Machine

Posted by : Michael Lund
Filed under : Media, Online

Just been told about the most amazing website that can help you find out what a website said in the past, before it was changed.

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine crawls the web every month or so and keeps a copy of many of the websites that it finds.

The Wayback Machine says it's growing at 20 terabytes a month and currently holds about 2 petabytes of data. (I had to look that up. It's 1,125,899,906,842,624 bytes of memory or more than a million billion bytes!)

So what, I hear you cry.

Well suppose a particular political aspirant suddenly changed from one point of view to an opposing view, and then swore blind he was always thought that way.

Maybe they once opposed a development plan and now they're a staunch supporter and want more development in the rain forest.

Now you can check back and see what their website said in the past - regardless of whether they think they've deleted the information

The archive isn't comprehensive. It follows the usual rules on search engine archiving and obeys the robots.txt and header exclusion instructions.

Most groups and organisations though want their information picked up by search engines so if was once found by Google and other popular search engines then there's a good chance it's been archived.

Never one to shy away from the vanity search, I found my old entry on the ABC's website before it was removed when I left the broadcaster in 2007.

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All thoughts and comments here are the honestly held personal opinion of Michael Lund and are based on the information available at the time of publication.