November 29, 2023

Major Milestone for the Wayback Machine

I can’t begin to recall how many times I have relied on the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine” to fetch a file that I had inadvertently deleted without a backup. Or checked out how bad my web design was back in 1996. I mean, srsly. So I was delighted to see that the Wayback Machine had just received a huge update.

According to Brewster Kahle:

Now we cover from late 1996 to December 9, 2012 so you can surf the web as it was up until a month ago.  Also, we have gone from having 150,000,000,000 URLs to having 240,000,000,000 URLs, a total of about 5 petabytes of data.   (Want a humorous description of a petabyte?  start at 28:55)  This database is queried over 1,000 times a second by over 500,000 people a day helping make the 250th most popular website.

In the past I’ve had my doubts about the commitment the Internet Archive has toward this service, but with a major update in 20011 and another major update this year, the Wayback Machine appears to be on a solid footing. And that can only be a good thing for folks like me who ocassionally lose files or who just want to revisit the past.


Note: Thanks to my pal Tracy Seneca for the heads-up.

Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.


  1. Thank you, Roy for the nice comments on the Internet Archive and Wayback Machine. As you know, librarians live for positive comments from users.