The Wayback Machine
Last year I remember reading something about somebody backing up the entire internet a few months ago, but I noted in passing and then promptly forgot about it. This morning I found another reference to it, and followed it to archive.org where the Wayback Machine does indeed give you access to the past of the internet.
I only tested it briefly but I did find a website that Eva Wojdat and I made in 1996, and which has been scattered into the ether since 1997. The Director movies were missing, or maybe they don’t work anymore since they were made in Director 4. The text and images were all there though.
The Internet Archive was founded by Brewster Kahle, who is now its Digital Librarian and Director. This is his biography, quoted from the Internet Archive biography page:
Since the mid-1980s, Brewster has focused on developing transformational technologies for information discovery and digital libraries. In 1989 Brewster invented the Internet?s first publishing system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server) system, and in 1989, founded WAIS Inc., a pioneering electronic publishing company that was sold to America Online in 1995. In 1996, Brewster founded the Internet Archive, the largest publicly accessible, privately funded digital archive in the world. At the same time, he co-founded Alexa Internet in April 1996, which was sold to Amazon.com in 1999. Alexa’s services are bundled into more than 80% of Web browsers.
The project also runs a Live Music archive where they are encouraging bands to allow their performances to be archived, and similar archives for text, moving images, and software.