The internet is a large place, so large infact that if every piece of content that is on the internet counted as a person, we could easily fill another planet earth, probably twice over. There have been many efforts to try and archive everything on the internet, infact there are companies that specialize in helping you archive your website or websites. Go Figure. If you want to take a look at what some pages looked like 20 years ago, there are some that are still active, even for movies from that long ago. It is no surprise that archiving is becoming a big thing because our history is one to record and remember. When you have the ability to visually record the many transformations a company went through to gain attention and customers you begin to see the evolution of progress before your eyes. The same goes for blogs, youtube channels, and even tweets.
There is one site that has taken on the effort to capture everything about the internet, including videos, books, music, and so on. Brewster Kahle is the brainchild behind the idea of archiving the internet. His work started in the mid-90s and has continued ever since. The internet to him is one big time capsule that needs to be recorded every so often. Of course recording that much data requires large amounts of space online, so it’s almost like trying to backup the internet every so often. How could someone possible do that? Although he is not recording every single thing on the internet he is taking snapshots all around. For example, knowing what Google looks like today doesn’t seem like anything important to know but knowing what it looked like in 1999 or 2003 might show how Google has changed and evolved over the years to meet consumer interest.
Documenting the Internet
If you want to find out about a certain topic you can do a search and find different sources that explain the event. What makes this different from a regular google search is that google will only provide you with relevant information that it believes you would be interested in knowing based on past searches and what other people are searching that are popular on the same subject today. The internet archive only provides information that is collected on that topic but includes items such as movies, audio recordings, text articles, along with how much clicks that one result has gotten over a period of time.
Audio and movie recordings provide links where you can listen or watch and even download for later. This allows individuals to engage with the content they are looking for more than if they could only view it with a paid service and such. So how is this different from wikipedia or a verified encyclopedia? Wikis allow anyone with access to the site to update and change information as they wish so that means the information provided is only as good as the editor adding content, whereas an encyclopedia only consists of events that have historical significance to learning. The internet archive proves to provide time lapse shots of what the internet is about at any given moment. Learning why one site changed from a small brick and mortar company to one that provides business services to other companies might be an interesting study for someone going into business.
The task of trying to remember everything about the internet is one that is a huge challenge considering how much is really on the internet. How do you determine which site is more important than another when recording information? One site today who has only 100 followers might be the next big thing in two years so how to you make the decision to take a snapshot of it today? These are tough questions to answer but they are doing a good job so far, of course they will need more help from people in finding what needs to be recorded and what should be left alone, making those choices will not be easy.
So dive into the past and see what the internet was life before today, you just might find a whole new idea for a business, because like I always say, Entrepreneurs never stop learning because they are always looking for the next best idea.
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