Internet Archive project alliance with Wikipedia means that you can browse Wikipedia the way you were always supposed to.
As any regular user of Wikipedia can attest to, the internet encyclopedia has something of a memory problem, or at least a dead link problem. The problem resides in the fact that the World Wide Web is a fickle and dispassionate place. Websites can change, websites can disappear, and the content on pages can change.
The problem is that when websites change or disappear, they can be gone forever, and links that point at the no longer existing page and its content become ‘dead’ links. It’s an issue, especially for knowledge bases such as Wikipedia that relies heavily on information contained in other places on the Web.
The Internet Archive has a solution
But now thanks to a small army of volunteers and the Internet Archive, Wikipedia has managed to recover 9,000,000 broken links and bring them back, “archiving nearly every URL referenced in close to 300 Wikipedia sites as soon as those links are added or changed at the rate of about 20 million” or so a week.
The project is part of the Internet Archive’s ongoing ‘Build a Better Web’ initiative which aims to “bring you knowledge in all its many forms that is richer, deeper, more trustworthy and openly accessible on the Web.”
How does it work?
Essentially, while the old web-pages that were originally linked to may be gone, snapshots taken by the Internet Archive are not, and now millions of links have been restored, in part, so at least Wikipedia users can see the original data.
One contributor in particular, Maximillian Doerr, built software to find dead links within Wikipedia and then searched the Internet Archive for the matching page. The software helped to fix over 6 million links over a three-year period. 3 million other dead links were fixed by the volunteer army manually.