Internet Archive

Ever wish you could go back in time and see what that website used to say last week, month, or even (gasp) last year?  That’s eons in the blogosphere.  But, there is one tool in the online investigator’s arsenal that shouldn’t be overlooked.  The Internet Archive Wayback Machine collects and indexes sites across the web every day, and stores those pages for future reference.  With over 85 billion pages, the index is huge and contains all manner of web flotsam.  They now also index moving images, texts, audio and other web content.    Biggest advantages:  1) the archive takes snapshots of indexed sites over time and saves each one so you can see changes, and 2) it’s free.  Biggest drawbacks: 1) it doesn’t contain the entire web so the site/page you’re looking for may be missing from the index, and 2) the platform is finnicky and sometimes media (like images or flash) does not save or load properly making some pages hard to make out.  But overall, this can be a great investigative tool, especially when the subject of an investigation makes changes to a website/page during your the period of your investigation.

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