Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: Internet Archive


Reviewed by:  Linda B. Nilson, Director, Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation, Clemson University, USA

Stymied by link rot?  Looking for artifacts of modern history?  Seeking foreign language recordings?  The Internet Archive can probably meet these and hundreds of other needs.  This site a constantly growing, non-profit collection of Internet sites and digitized cultural artifacts--literally millions of images, audio files, animations, and texts--that are freely open to researchers, scholars, instructors, and the general public.  It includes the WayBack Machine, an archive of over 200 million defunct Web sites archived since 1996 in over 40 languages.  It contains more than 150+ billion Web captures (over two petabytes of data compressed) including content from every top-level domain.  Other highlights of the Internet Archive are these vast collections:

·         Moving images: Almost a half million animations, movies, and television shows from all over the world with near-unrestricted access

·         Live Music: More than 87,000 concerts

·         Audio recordings: Three quarters of a million recordings, from Ave Maria to the Grateful Dead to religious sermons

·         Texts: More than 2.5 million works of fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts, rare books, and academic books

·         NASA images

·         Software and software-related material such as shareware, freeware, speed runs of software game play, and information on software titles and games.

Under Projects, you will find an Education link to the Open Education Resources Library, which gives free access to hundreds of online courses, study guides, assignments, video lectures (subject specified), and other supplementary learning materials from universities in the United States and China.  Many of these lectures are available for download.

This mega-size site provides a search engine for every major section.

Educational developers can draw on the resources at the Internet Archive to find now-defunct sites and course materials of all types of subject matter.  They can, of course, refer faculty to this vast collection as well.  It should be especially useful to those developing online courses and online educational development materials because educational users need not worry about the standard copyright restrictions.  Instructors of language courses will find unusual foreign language recordings.

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