The Internet Archive upgrades its Wayback Machine

October 21, 2019 | 11:16

Tags: #archiving #john-hickey #preservation #wayback-machine

Companies: #the-internet-archive

The Internet Archive has announced a major upgrade to its popular Wayback Machine web archiving tool, adding the ability to see changes between captures and to create a publicly-accessible list of pages.

Founded with no lesser goal than the preservation of every form of media, digital and otherwise, The Internet Archive's most popular tool is the Wayback Machine. Given a URL, the Wayback Machine allows you to browse how it looked through time in archived page captures - vital for both tracking modifications to pages and to accessing sites which have been taken offline in the intervening months or years.

'Extinction isn’t just a biological issue. In the 21st century, it’s a technical, even digital one, too,' says the Archive's John Hickey in his announcement of a major upgrade to the Wayback Machine. 'The average web page might last three months before it’s altered or deleted forever. You never know when access to the information on these web pages is going to be needed. It might be three months from now; it might be three decades. That’s how the Wayback Machine serves—making history by saving history. Now, the Wayback Machine is fighting digital extinction in brand new ways.'

One of the biggest new features is the ability to view changes between two captures, highlighting parts of the page which have been modified in blue and yellow. The calendar view which shows when pages were captured can also be shown in 'change' mode now, which demonstrates when changes were made - and all change-view URLs can be easily shared.

Another key change comes in the ability to capture pages, complete with outlinks, error pages, and screenshots, into a publicly-accessible personal web archive page. 'It’s essentially a personal but public bookmarking system of pages that others can follow,' Hickey explains. 'Imagine how important this might be for future researchers, family members or fans interested in the web pages you chose to personally save for all time.'

Other changes include the ability to show all captures for a given page rather than a subset of available captures and a 'Collections' view which can be used to see why given pages were captured and find related pages.

All features are available now, with more information available in Hickey's blog post.

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