The Wayback Machine is a service provided by The Internet Archive. The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, The Internet Archive provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print disabled, and the general public. Their mission is to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge.
The Internet Archive began in 1996 by archiving the Internet itself, a medium that was just beginning to grow in use. Like newspapers, the content published on the web was ephemeral – but unlike newspapers, no one was saving it. Today The Internet Archive has 20+ years of web history accessible through the Wayback Machine and works with 625+ library and other partners through their Archive-It program to identify important web pages.
As their web archive grew, so did their commitment to providing digital versions of other published works. Today their archive contains:
- 330 billion web pages
- 20 million books and texts
- 4.5 million audio recordings (including 180,000 live concerts)
- 4 million videos (including 1.6 million Television News programs)
- 3 million images
- 200,000 software programs