"The average life of a web page is about 100 days before it's either changed or deleted," says Kahle. "Even if it's supported by big companies: Google Video came down, Yahoo Video came down, Apple went and wiped out all the pages in Mobile Me." Capturing this transient web was Kahle's original mission for the Internet Archive when he founded it in 1996. Nearly two decades later, the 53-year-old compares his organization to a "Library of Alexandria, version two."
That may be an understatement. In addition to hosting the Wayback Machine, an ever-growing collection of more than 400 billion copies of web pages, the Internet Archive has also expanded its services by providing millions of free digitized books, TV shows, movies, songs, documents, and software titles. Want to see what MotherJones.com looked like in 1996? Here you go. Are you a Deadhead in search of rare recordings? There are more than 9,000 to choose from. Remember when federal websites were closed for business during the government shutdown? They were still available thanks to the Internet Archive.