Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Internet Archive: A Rich Source of Video, Audio, Text, and More

Have you gotten lost in the Internet Archive yet? It's non-profit "digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form," which features a huge array video, audio, text, and other items of potential interest to both artists and scholars alike. The site offers so much that it's difficult to do justice to it in a brief blog post. Its main offerings are divided into the Wayback Machine (over 150 billion archived web pages), Moving Images, Texts, Audio, and Software. You can conduct keyword and advanced searches across the entire archive, or browse by various sub-collections. Explore the reviews, spotlight items, most downloaded items, and staff picks. Below is a brief overview of each of the main Internet Archive areas.

Wayback Machine
"Browse through over 150 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. To start surfing the Wayback, type in the web address of a site or page where you would like to start, and press enter. Then select from the archived dates available. The resulting pages point to other archived pages at as close a date as possible."

Moving Images
"This library contains thousands of digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Many of these videos are available for free download." The sub-collections are Animation & Cartoons, Arts & Music, Community Video, Computers & Technology, Cultural & Academic Films, Ephemeral Films, Movies, News & Public Affairs, Prelinger Archives, Spirituality & Religion, Sports Videos , Television, Videogame Videos, Vlogs, and Youth Media.

"Contains a wide range of fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts and academic books." This comprises almost 3 million digitized items, including a lot of great vintage and historical texts. These can be read online or downloaded to your computer. The sub-collections are American Libraries, Canadian Libraries, Universal Library, Community Texts, Project Gutenberg, Children's Library, Biodiversity Heritage Library, and Additional Collections.

"Contains over two hundred thousand free digital recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by our users. Many of these audios and MP3s are available for free download." The sub-collections are Audio Books & Poetry, Community Audio, Computers & Technology, The Grateful Dead, Live Music Archive, Music & Arts, Netlabels, News & Public Affairs, Non-English Audio, Radio Programs, and Spirituality & Religion.

"The Software Archive is designed to preserve and provide access to all kinds of rare or difficult to find, legally downloadable software titles and background information on those titles. The collection includes a broad range of software related materials including shareware, freeware, video news releases about software titles, speed runs of actual software game play, previews and promos for software games, high-score and skill replays of various game genres, and the art of filmmaking with real-time computer game engines." The sub-collections are Game Patches, 301Works.org, DigiBarn, CD Bulletin Board Software Archive, Infochimps, Open Source Software, and Tucows Software Library.