The Internet Archive Wayback Machine

One of the best ways to “capture a web page as it appears now for use as a trusted citation in the future” is the Internet Archive Wayback machine. It’s an awesome handy tool. You’ll be glad you know how to use it.

Publications sometimes change their minds and “unpublish” pieces. It is often under government pressure and sometimes under public pressure from special interest groups. When a publication retracts an article or an opinion piece, it is usually because the management (editors and owners) realize that they have published something that on second thoughts they should not have — the equivalent of “oops, did I say that aloud?” The way to do a hurried retraction is to delete the piece from the website. This happens quite frequently in the twitter world. But the incriminating evidence remains if some people do a screen-capture of the relevant tweet.

The Amazing Internet Archive Wayback Machine. There is an elegant way to take a snapshot of any page on the web and get an authentic time-stamp of it as it appeared at that time. It’s the amazing “Internet Archive Wayback Machine.” As the name implies, it archives the web. But you can use it to keep content that you believe may be taken down. Simply copy-paste the URL of the content you wish to preserve into the “Save Page Now” box on the WaybackMachine, and you are done.

For example, I created a sample post, “The Wayback Machine is Awesome.” After publishing the post, “saved the page as a trusted citation” in the Wayback machine. Then I deleted the post. So if you click on the previous link, you will get to the 404 Not Found page. But since I saved it, here’s proof that I did indeed publish the post: See the archived version here.

I am prompted to make this public service announcement because of this tweet:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

If only someone had put that article on the Wayback Machine, we could read it even after it was deleted. Because the tweet references the page via a bit.ly link, the actual link gets preserved (http://www.firstpost.com/politics/land-bill-stuck-in-the-parliament-pm-modi-may-have-to-rethink-jaitley-as-fm-2351720.html), and so you get some part of the title of the deleted page: “Land bill stuck in the parliament; PM Modi may have to rethink Jaitley as PM”.

It may be that Jaitley did not like the tone of the article and had it taken down.

Anyway, so there you are. Save pages. Just remember “archive.org”. From there, you can get to the WaybackMachine.

5 thoughts on “The Internet Archive Wayback Machine

  1. >and so you get some part of the title of the deleted page: “Land bill stuck in the parliament; PM Modi may have to rethink Jaitley as PM”.

    ha ha nice, i see what you did there. (hope it was not a typo)

    Like

    1. Ha ha. That was not intentional but I am going to keep it that way. It is somehow appropriate. Great that you caught that.

      Like

      1. another nice tool for MSM in general and indian MSM, if it were important enough, is newsdiffs.org. this site essentially provides a diff of an article over time (ofcourse if an article is taken down immediately the tool might not be that helpful)

        Like

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