Using archive.org

This website is not merely a website archive (the Wayback Machine). In fact, that’s not its principal use. Archive.org contains all manner of media: in their own words, “a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.” There are audiobooks, scanned print books, live music recordings, feature films, and countless other sorts of media I’ve yet to explore. Scroll down past the fold at the archive.org website to see the whole list pf categories.

There are two search fields:

  1. Wayback Machine (at the top of the page)
  2. General site search

Use the second field to search for any material on the site, including all those listed above. Below that search field, the various collections of the archive are linked.

I was put in mind of this by the mention of Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up on the Welcome thread. Both books are available to borrow (for free!) at archive.org using the links above. A free account is required. In some cases, one can only borrow books for an hour but they may be renewed an arbitrary number of times. Books that can be borrowed for two weeks can also be downloaded as PDFs or EPUBs.

The particular copy linked above was held by the Boston Public Library (Copley Square).

Archive.org is not to be confused with archive.today. The former, based in the People’s Republic of San Francisco, has woke tendencies and has been known to censor items in the Wayback Machine. Archive.today has no such issues. The latter is also useful to access material behind paywalls, e.g., periodicals such as the WSJ and avoiding ads. Together with sci-hub, these three sites provide ready access to a wealth of intellectual material with unprecedented ease.

More details on how the Archive library works on this page, including a rather slow-paced video:

Happy reading.

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Thank you for posting this. Archive.org is a tremendously valuable resource, and can be used in some non-obvious ways. For example, if you are willing to contribute content you develop to the public domain under their license, it can be used as a site to host images and videos too large or expensive to host on your own site or you’re worried about disappearing when your hosting site expires or you do.

For example, back in 2006 when bandwidth to my site was near the limit and I wanted to make the video of my timeless classic about residential construction in Switzerland, «Les Quatre Saisons: Lignières 2005–2006», available, I uploaded the video file as a public domain contribution to archive.org and simply linked to it from my site. You can still view it there, although the quality is modest compared to what we’ve become accustomed to in the age of extravagant computation and wretched excess in storage. The Internet Archive is also an excellent place to immortalise any historical data you’ve painfully clawed into digital form, whether old books, scanned historical documents, or music from Edison cylinders you found in grandma’s barn.

Geeky technical data and database files may better be archived on GitHub, where a wider variety of file formats are available (my stuff) and communication with those who use the data is better, but in any case get it out there where others can use it.

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This thread is a good place to share the many uses of archive.org, given that lots of folks are not aware of their great variety. If anyone has other features of the site to highlight, please do so here.

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Another wonderful resource at Archive.org is their vast collection of old-time radio programs. These include famous series such as “Gunsmoke”, “Dragnet”, “The Lone Ranger”, “The Life of Riley”, and “CBS Radio Mystery Theater”. My personal favourite is the vintage science fiction series “X Minus One”, whose dramatisations include classic stories from Golden Age authors such including Asimov, Bradbury, and Heinlein.

These are a wonderful way to occupy your ears and mind while walking the dog, doing chores, or running errands.

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An amazing site! Thank you. Funny coincidence - my wife and I have been wondering if episodes of Amos & Andy could still be heard; I recall them being hilariously funny. We were thinking they would offer interesting insights into a more innocent time in America (and maybe be able to observe some of the prejudices of the time). They can be heard! - on archive.org.

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For me the library portion of archive.org is its most valuable feature. I can get a lot of primary sources through it, including books published in the 16th century. (I used artillery manuals written then while researching Spanish Galleon vs. English Galleon). It also has some really fascinating primary source stuff, like English-language translations of the Kriegsmarine War Diaries.

I really don’t carehow woke they are,so long as they link scanned images of the out-of-print and public domain material I need…

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Agreed, except that their wokeness will undoubtedly lead to the elimination of many resources, possibly including those you value. I mentioned it only in connection with the broader point that digital resources are subject to revision and deletion by the woke mob. It may not yet have reached you but it likely will eventually. This is an underlying problem with cloud storage in general.

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The recent post on the telephone design of 1915 brought to mind the story of the bull who came into the kitchen to use the phone.

The story starts on page 4 of John Gould’s 1942 collection Farmer Takes a Wife.

Lo and behold, the Internet Archive has it available for borrowing right here. Once you have an account set up, you can borrow it for an hour at a time for any number of times.

The time of year approaches when it is meet to read certain parts of this volume aloud at supper dessert. For example, the Samoset story, which starts on page 24, is for Thanksgiving.

Thanks, doclor, for the heads-up on Internet Archive,and thanks JW for the old-time phone vid.

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