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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Internet Archive - audio, video, texts and more!

It’s Christmas eve day, and its snowing here in Dallas, so everyone is just huddled indoors trying to stay warm, and enjoying being in the company of family... which always sets me to thinking about my ancestors and genealogy, of course.

Since the presents are all wrapped, and its just a countdown to Santa, I’ll go ahead and write about another site for finding family stories online, and we’ll call it my Christmas present to you :)

Internet Archive, at is a very large, online archive of internet treasures. This site archives video, live music, audio files, and is another great source for digital texts. One of the main features of the site is the Way Back Machine - which is an archive of over 150 billion web pages that are no longer available otherwise. So if you have a web address that you previously found some great information at, but when you return that page is no longer available, you can put the address into the Way Back Machine and hope that it is one that they have archived. If so, voila! The old web page is there for you to peruse, and, if its important stuff, print out.

The Internet Archives website has a search engine that covers all of the collections, or you can search them individually. You can search by using any keyword, such as a surname or location. I almost always include the word ‘genealogy’ in order to narrow down the results.

The audio files consist over 455,000 recordings, and the genealogy search offerings include several individual interviews, a couple of genealogy books in audio format, and even some of DearMYRTLE’s Family History Podcasts from a few years back.

The archives also has over 72,000 live music recordings, so if researching your departed ancestors gives you a hankering to listen to the Grateful Dead live at Filmore East in 1970, go ahead and stream it on your computer from this site.

There are nearly 240,000 items in the moving images archive here, including everything from movie trailers and propaganda films, to full length feature movies, all available to download and view. Watch the 1935 version of A Shot In The Dark, or the cult classic Reefer Madness - there’s lots to choose from.

The digital text collection has close to two million books digitized, and the nice thing about their text collection is that each book is presented in a few different digital formats to make reading it easier, depending on your computer’s capabilities. I like the way you can easily search the texts, and the results appear like little tabs on the pages of the virtual book that you can click on.

As always, its worth spending some time poking around any interesting website to see what all they have to offer. But be sure to spend as much time as you can with your living relatives during the holidays!

1 comment:

san diego audio video said...

the way back machine is very interesting, it is really nice to have a look on your site 5 years ago or so, thanks for the article