Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My visit to the Internet Archive

After my visit to the Googleplex, I drove up to San Francisco to meet Kris Carpenter of the Internet Archive. My dissertation work had a lot to do with Google and Internet Archive, it was exciting to visit both places in the same day.

IA's main headquarters is located in the Presidio, an ex-Army base near the base of the Golden Gate Bridge (in an incredibly beautiful setting). As the photo shows, IA is housed in a few buildings that were originally built in the late 1800s. It's a very quaint setting and appropriate for an organization that is attempting to archive the Internet for future generations. The data center is housed in downtown San Francisco which I didn't see.

Before getting a tour of the facilities, Kris, Gordon, Brad, and I met and discussed some upcoming opportunities for undergraduate CS students to contribute to the Wayback Machine and other projects. I'm hoping some of my students will get involved this summer or next semester. We also talked about doing another URL overlap study like the one I did a year ago. I brought up the subject of archiving Facebook and other social networks, and apparently other researchers from places like Stanford have already approached them about the subject. This is something I'd like to get involved in.

I also met several staffers and ran into Brewster Kahle, the Internet Archive's founder. It was really neat meeting the guy that was responsible for what I think is one of the most worthwhile organizations out there.

Pictured below: Machine from the data center (left), machine which can print out a paper copy of a book in several minutes (center), and guys scanning in a book (right). Other photos are available on Flickr.