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Get Lost in the Internet Archive

Archive.org logo

If you’ve never checked out the Internet Archive, you’ve been missing out. The Internet Archive hosts millions of free digital files at archive.org. Files are organized into collections for texts, video, audio, TV, software, images, and more. The Internet Archive also has a tool called the Wayback Machine -- an archive of over 300 billion websites that stretches back to 1996.

There are three main ways to explore the Internet Archive. You can search for files, browse by file type, or browse the collections. Let’s start by searching for content from the Athens-Clarke County Library. Go to archive.org and search for “Athens-Clarke County Library”. The search results show library board minutes from several years. To find the latest minutes, filter by “2016”.

Say you want to watch a free movie online. On the archive.org home page, click the “Video” icon. Now select the filter for “Movies”. Movies will be sorted by views with the most popular videos at the top. You can browse, search, or filter these movies. You’ll find an interesting mix of content from old public domain Hollywood movies to TV documentaries to home movies. For instance, you can find the original “Night of the Living Dead” which you can stream or download to your device.

Another way to find files on archive.org is by browsing the collections. On the archive.org home page, you can scroll down to find “Top Collections at the Archive”. An excellent collection is Project Gutenburg which contains many e-books in the public domain. The Librivox Free Audiobook Collection contains thousands of free audiobooks. Netlabels is a collection of record labels who have released free online albums to download or stream. You can check out other interesting collections such as New York Public Library, NASA Images, and Live Music Archive.

Have you ever wanted to go back in time to look at website? The Wayback Machine lets you do that. Since 1996 the Wayback Machine has been taking periodic snapshots of billions of websites on the Internet and saving those snapshots -- for all to see -- to its archive. Let’s revisit the Yahoo! of 1998. On the archive.org home page, type “yahoo.com” into the Wayback Machine search bar. Click 1998 and find a snapshot from that year. Pretty cool.