Because the Web was created in such a rapid and decentralized manner, the history of the Internet could have been lost completely, had it not been for organizations like the Internet Archive. For that reason, we’re big fans of the initiative — plus we can’t help being tech history geeks ourselves.
With this sentiment in mind, we were excited to find that the Internet Archive is now greatly expanding its collection of historic software. According to the Internet Archive’s Jason Scott, the organization now hosts “the largest collection of historical software online in the world.” Scott challenges you to find something bigger.
This rapid expansion came in part through partnerships with many independent archives, including the Shareware CD Archive, the TOSEC archive, the FTP site boneyard, and the Disk Drives collection. In addition to actual software, documentation is also being invested in, like this Apple I manual.
Today’s news is cause for celebration, but the Internet Archive’s growing collection is imperfect: Scott elaborates that its “metadata is shit.”
We’re not good at having all the careful twee metadata entry that most archives and libraries demand. If you look at, say, the Apple I manual we have online, it’s kind of just that – an Apple I manual. Not much detail, page listing, context. It’s just there. Preserved, easily accessed, easily read – but not described all that much. That’s a thing. People in more formal disciplines might call that a showstopper. I call it a minor issue for the moment, but one worth improving.
Head here to explore the archive. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, check out this collection of coverdisks from old issues of MacAddicts, GameStar and Linux Format Magazine. Or, check out this collection of vintage PC games, including titles like Dungeon Keeper (1997) and Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit (1998).
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