Mission: To provide researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public with permanent access to historical collections that exist in digital format.
Background: Founded by computer engineer and digital librarian Brewster Kahle in May 1996, the Internet Archive works to preserve cultural artifacts uploaded to the Internet and prevent other "born-digital" materials from disappearing into the past. Through its work with more than four hundred library and university partners, the Internet Archive provides free access to a library of more than 25 petabytes of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and nearly three million books in the public domain. In addition to serving as one of the largest digital repositories in the world, Kale and his organization are activists, advocating for an open Internet in the belief that free access to literature and other cultural artifacts is essential to education and the preservation of an open society.
Outstanding Web Features: The Internet Archive allows members of the general public to upload and download digital material to and from its collections, although the size of its Web collection is such that using it requires programming skills. The bulk of the data collected by the archive is gathered automatically by the organization’s Web crawlers, which work to preserve as much of the public Web as possible. Its popular Web archive, the Wayback Machine, is the largest Internet archive of its kind and contains more than 500 billion Web “captures.” The core function of the site is to enable visitors to access texts, audio, moving images, and software, including features like a TV News Archive; a Live Music Archive hosted by etree.org; a very cool Internet arcade; and collections from the likes of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum. Beyond enabling users to listen to old live recordings of The Grateful Dead, or access a newly acquired Hip Hop mix-tape collection, or play old DOS video games, the site hosts a number of special projects, including a NASA Images Archive, a Political Ad Archive, the contract crawling service Archive-It, and the wiki-editable library catalog and book information site Open Library. All special projects also provide specialized services for adaptive reading and information access for the blind and other persons with disabilities.