27 April 2007

Find that lost genealogy website

You have a website bookmarked, or find it referenced, and when you try and go to it you get an error message. Frustrating. What do you do?

It may just be the site is temporarily down, perhaps owing to a power cut or maintenance. If so just wait until it returns, possibly only a few seconds, sometimes overnight.

It may be the site is, like the Python's Norwegian Blue Parrot "no more, ceased to be, expired and gone to meet it's maker, bereft of life it rests in peace. " It's an ex-website.

Fortunately there's a place to retrieve some websites bereft of life. It's called the Internet Archive, also known as the Wayback Machine. You can browse through 85 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago.

You enter the web address of a site or page where you would like to start, and press enter. Then select from the archived dates available. The resulting pages point to other archived pages at as close a date as possible. You may find some of the formatting, and sometimes images, are lost, but the basic content should remain. What you will not find is material from the hidden web, pages not accessible by a web spider, especially searcheable databases and the like.

Unfortunately keyword searching isn't supported. You need to know the web address, perhaps from a bookmark, published reference or dead link on an existing page.

If it looks like your goose is cooked the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine may just save your bacon!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This another good reason to use online bookmarking systems such as Diigo and Yahoo! Bookmarks. These systems will capture a copy of the page you bookmark - preserving it even if the site disappears.