In class last week we were looking at a couple of web resources and digital tools that could help us in our research. One of these resources was the Wayback Machine (https://archive.org/web/) from the Internet Archive. It saves how a website looks at a time and day, and then saves all of these archived sites so that anybody can look at them whenever they want. I had heard of this resource before and vaguely remember looking through it a few years ago but had never thought of what to do with it.
The ability to look at a website from the past, preserved as if it were an exhibit in a museum has many capabilities for research and the study of history. Not only does it show how far web design and technology have come in the past few years, it is also a great way to study and gauge social history by seeing what was important enough to be featured on various webpages on certain dates. The information gathered from research like this would be able to show an outside viewer what the society that would have originally viewed that website valued, and what events they thought were important. Comparing websites that had covered the same story would also give insight into the people who would typically visit each site as well. With technology becoming more and more a part of our daily lives and sources of news like print and television becoming less relevant, the websites and online presence of news corporations have become the main source of news for many people. A web resource like the Wayback Machine allows people to view the initial reaction to monumental events like the election of Obama or Canada winning the hockey gold medals in Vancouver 2010 much like how people save the front pages of newspapers from day after the moon landings or the Kennedy assassination.
I’m still not sure about a topic for my project so my use of the Wayback Machine was limited to me just playing around with it and looking at the stuff I could find. The usefulness of the Wayback Machine cannot be understated for the simple fact that I was able to go back and look at the Toronto Maple Leafs website from 2004 when they were actually competitive and relive those memories of playoff hockey. Looking at the website of a winning team is something I haven’t really been able to do for the last few years so that was a nice change of pace. I was also able to remind myself that things with the Leafs were much worse around 2007 which helped take away some of the sting of their current form.