Internet Archive's Wayback Machine Gets Funding for Major Enhancements

The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, a massive archive of 19 years of captured websites, has received funding for a next-generation overhaul which will add some search capabilities and enhance how it captures webpages and displays media-rich content.

The grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation will fund a rewrite of the Wayback Machine's code to make it a faster and more reliable resource when it relaunches in 2017.  In addition to a new user interface, it will provide some other much-welcome changes:

Limited Keyword Searching -- Currently using the Wayback Machine is only useful if you know the URL of the archived website you are researching.  While the sheer size of its 439 billion webpage archive (with 1 billion new pages added every week) makes full search indexing impractical, the new version will index the homepages for the archived websites, making some keyword search functionality possible.  

Improved Rendering of Media-Rich Websites -- A current limitation of the Wayback Machine is its spotty ability to render video and animations common on today's media-rich websites, an artifact of its creation before a number of media formats came into such common use in modern websites.  The new version promises to add support for rendering newer media formats and more interactively-designed websites.  

Until the new version goes live, you can still search the current version of the Wayback Machine here.  

And check out our past blog post discussing the Wayback Machine and Internet Archive's other excellent resources.  

The VR Research website from 10 years ago, courtesy the Wayback Machine.