There is an excellent New Yorker article titled “The Cobweb” by Jill Lepore. You don’t have to be a subscriber to New Yorker, this article is open to public. This is a very informative piece. You can learn a lot about the internet in general – especially the history of internet – and about the Internet Archive (Wayback Machine) and its founder Brewster Kahle in particular.
After you read the New Yorker article you might want to explore the archive.org
I typed (cut-and-pasted) the URL (internet address) of some of my blog posts into the “Wayback Marchine” area and clicked on the “BROWSE HISTORY” button. It seems that all my blog posts have been archived at the Wayback Machine.
An archived version of a webpage can be retrieved. You can read the help instructions at the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Using_the_Wayback_Machine
All web pages that allow “crawlers” are archived by the Wayback Machine. You don’t have to register your web pages at the Wayback Machine to be archived. All you have to do is to make sure that crawlers are allowed to index your web pages. Jill Lepore explains it as follows:
“The Wayback Machine collects every Web page it can find, unless that page is blocked; blocking a Web crawler requires adding only a simple text file, “robots.txt,” to the root of a Web site. The Wayback Machine will honor that file and not crawl that site, and it will also, when it comes across a robots.txt, remove all past versions of that site.”
Brewster Kahle’s Internet Archive (Wayback Machine) organization is headquartered in San Francisco. In Jill Lepore’s words:
“The address of the Internet Archive is archive.org, but another way to visit is to take a plane to San Francisco and ride in a cab to the Presidio, past cypresses that look as though someone had drawn them there with a smudgy crayon. At 300 Funston Avenue, climb a set of stone steps and knock on the brass door of a Greek Revival temple. You can’t miss it: it’s painted wedding-cake white and it’s got, out front, eight Corinthian columns and six marble urns.”