2015The granddaddy of internet public domain archives,, has recently been upping its game after years in more or less the same venerable, trusty, but slightly fusty format. As announced, “the new version of the site has been evolving over the past 6 months in response to the feedback we’ve received from thousands of our awesome users.” And as far as I can see at least, the quality of some of its scans and other archived material is being progressively upgraded too.

The key reasons for the upgrade are interesting in themselves. According to, “35% of our ~3 million daily users are on mobile/tablet devices, and the classic site is not easy to use on small formats.” Furthermore,”the new tools we want to offer our users would be difficult to implement in the old site architecture” and The classic site was built a long time ago, using methods that are outdated.  Finding programmers who have the skills to work in that environment is becoming increasingly difficult.”

Much of this new push probably stems from a realization of the consequences of’s transition from its initial aims c.1996 of “being an archive OF the Internet” to being “an archive ON the internet.” In other words, the internet itself has grown beyond the capacities of any one platform to archive it. Instead, is “creating new tools to help every media-based community build their own collections on a long term platform that is available to the entire world for free.”

As for the new design and new interface, this encapsulates the progression from the 9,000 registered users of the Wayback Machine in 2002 to today’s c. 2 million registered users, and some 2.5 million daily users, some 20-30 percent them on mobile devices. The new design already feels both slicker and more graphic, closer to Google’s latest interface ideas in Material Design. Not everyone may like it in preference to the old version, but it definitely seems to get the job done.

All good luck to, then, as it continues to develop in step with the internet itself – or sometimes plays catchup.



  1. Glad to hear about the upgrade. Internet Archive is quite useful, particularly for looking for older books. But their webpage did look like it was trapped in a wormhole anchored about 1995.

    I like the new look, but I am confused by the arrangement of “Top Collections.” They seem to be arranged at random rather that alphabetically or by size. The former would probably be best.

  2. I’ve used the Internet Archive for a few years and will continue to, but the new interface seems to me more a matter of form than function. I am finding the “slicker and more graphic” interface is harder to search, and I’m not really interested in lists of “Top Collections,” in other words, “this is what everybody else looks at so this is what you probably want to look at too.” But who knows, maybe the cool kids will let the Internet Archive nerds sit at their table now, so that makes it all worthwhile. Sorry, don’t mean to sound so cynical, the Internet Archive really is one of the greatest resources on the net – new interface or old.

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