When I checked the status of the Green Comet trilogy on the Internet Archive today, I discovered that the three books have a total of just over one thousand downloads. The Internet Archive is where I keep the recordings of the stories, because I don’t have enough room for them on my own website. If I kept them on greencomet.org, then I would have to pay for a more expensive hosting package, because I would exceed the amount of storage I get with my current one. Call me cheap, but I don’t think I should pay a premium to give my books away. It’s a good thing that the Internet Archive is there so I don’t have to.
In addition to providing a repository for people like me, and things like the Green Comet trilogy, the Internet Archive also hosts things nominated and uploaded by people other than the creators. They provide a storage place for large quantities of material that otherwise wouldn’t have a home on the internet, and might end up getting lost to obscurity. Then there’s the Wayback Machine, which takes snapshots of websites periodically to provide a semi-continuous record of the evolution of the internet.
Here’s the Wayback Machine’s record of greencomet.org:
The Green Comet website has been saved 58 times during its lifetime. In total, the Internet Archive has saved more than 333 billion web pages. That’s not everything. There are inevitably some changes on the internet that won’t be captured by the Internet Archive. Our record will be incomplete. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing will be a matter for personal opinion, but it’s definitely a good thing that at least a partial record is being captured. So, here’s to the Internet Archive, and here’s to the Green Comet trilogy which has been downloaded over a thousand times from it.
Here’s the story from the San Francisco Chronicle:
When the Internet Archive was created 20 years ago, few envisioned how a small galaxy of about 500,000 websites would evolve into the center of human communication and culture. […] the nonprofit San Francisco organization — which celebrated the milestone with a party Wednesday night — curates a vast digital archive that includes more than 370 million websites and 273 billion pages, many captured before they disappeared forever. The organization, founded by computer scientist and entrepreneur Brewster Kahle, now has a virtual storehouse ranging from digitally converted books and historic film to funny memes and audio recordings of Grateful Dead concerts. Future scholars will be able to search through an archive of news talk shows and political advertising to better understand the twists and turns of this year’s presidential election season.
“When Brewster started this, a lot of people thought he was crazy or irrelevant,” said Rick Prelinger, a film archivist and associate professor of film and digital media at UC Santa Cruz.
About 600 people turned out for the party in the Internet Archive’s neoclassic, Greek-columned home, the former Christian Scientist church on Funston Avenue in the Richmond District. Guests included early tech entrepreneur Marc Canter, co-founder of what would become Macromedia, early Apple employee Dan Kottke, and Washington journalist Kathy Kiely. The crowd included past and present Internet Archive employees, and others who volunteered their time or money to help the organization over the years.
The Internet Archive has survived through community donations and by working with about 1,000 libraries around the world that pay the group to help digitize books and other material. Last week, the archive released an easier way to search the Wayback Machine, which has also helped repair 1 million broken citation links on Wikipedia.