Go Wayback – The Ultimate Online Library

Ever wondered what a site looked like way back…say 5 or 10 years ago?

Take a look at a snapshot of your favorite site via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. If your site is not archived you can submit it for archival, or you if your site is archived and you’d rather it not be you can request to have it removed.

Here’s a bit of info from the site:

The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996 and located in the Presidio of San Francisco, the Archive has been receiving data donations from Alexa Internet and others. In late 1999, the organization started to grow to include more well-rounded collections. Now the Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in our collections.

How cool is that! The really great thing about this is anyone can submit digital information for archiving. It doesn’t matter how well you sing, write, draw or anything else. Just create an account and start uploading files or linking to your site.

If you are a geek like me be sure to check out the hardware page that shows pictures of and explains how all this data, 2 petabytes, is stored. By the way, if you wanted to back up all that data you’d need close to 3 million CD-Rs!

Take a look at Michael Stephen’s Tame the Web in 2000 and in 2008.
Tame The Web 2000

Tame the Web 2008

Wow, we’ve come a long way!

Now take a look at AOL in 1996 and 2008. What’s really funny is the little box on AOL that says, “the future–personal chat.”
AOL 1996

AOL 2008

What do you think these sites will look like in another 10 years?

About Lori Reed

Lori Reed, coauthor of Workplace Learning & Leadership: A Handbook for Library and Non-Profit Trainers, is a learning and communication strategist with more than twenty years experience in learning and development. A 2009 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and a 2010 "One to Watch" for paralibrarians, Lori graduated cum laude from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication. Lori is a certified Synchronous Learning Expert and a North Carolina Master Trainer and has traveled across North America speaking about libraries and training.


  1. This is fantastic! I often marvel at the way things evolve in just one or two years. To see what it was like 8 or 10 years ago is almost unbelievable.
    One of the things I see with the “big sites” is that there is much more visual garbage on the homepages. There is something about directness (you don’t get any more to-the-point than google’s main landing page!…and that seems to work just a little remarkably, huh?).
    Thanks for sharing this!
    Tony Tallent

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