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A Valuable Research Tool: The “Way Back Machine”

May 11, 2014

In exposing corporate reformers at their game, I have found that information sometimes “conveniently” disappears from websites once such information is publicized in a less-than-complimentary blog post.

There is a way to view web pages that have been removed or otherwise altered:

The “Way Back Machine”:

The “Way Back Machine” is a search engine of “snapshots” taken of web pages over time.

All one must do is enter the non-responsive or altered url into the search engine; the result will include the number of snapshots taken in a given period. For example, I just entered my blog address into the search engine, and the result was “Saved 24 times between January 31, 2013 and March 7, 2014.”

In the result, the dates “January 31, 2013” and “March 7, 2014” are links that I might click on. Clicking on the “January 31, 2014” link produces my blog as it appeared on that date. At the top of my blog page are 24 boxes in the form of a number line. Clicking on any one of these boxes shows me my blog as it appeared on that date in the past.

The “Way Back Machine” does not save every change to a web page. However, navigating the snapshots often reveals sought-after information that has been altered or removed, yielding enlightening finds for those investigating corporate reformers.

For example, after I wrote about the Gates grant process– namely, that Gates solicits grantees whom he believes will advance his mission– the Gates link, How We Make Grants, went dead.

Thanks to the “Way Back Machine,” How We Make Grants lives on:

Thus, the resulting “Way Back Machine” url is an active url that allows access to the “snapshot from the past” at any time.  As a result, writers can include the snapshot url in posts so that readers might view the result for themselves at will.

And here is another invaluable usage:

The Way Back Machine could be used to recover information from damaged websites to aid in website reconstruction. Information one thinks has been lost might not be lost, after all.


My thanks to Suzette Lopez and Jack Hassard for reminding me of this tool.

From → Tutorials

  1. joseph permalink

    Having trouble finding this news story:

    News Headline:
    In Honor of Mothers Day 2014, Education Commissioner King has announced that all Common Core materials will be removed from State classrooms and there will be no more standardized testing.

    Pearson stocks plummet leading to financial panic………

    Long Island Parents Dancing In The Streets………..

    Teachers will return to previous State Standards and the skills
    of the 20th century……..

    Governor to return campaign donations……..

    Bill Gates living in monastery to ‘reboot’……”How I came to find 20th century skills again”

    “Global Competition” shaken, expect to follow suit, 20th century skills more competitive.

  2. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Wonderful tool.
    I also noticed some vanished web addresses or new versions of history in my research. I am putting this in my file for future reference.

  3. David permalink

    Beautiful, simple, defense against the powers…

  4. Maureen OConnor permalink

    Hello Mercedes:

    I’m retired teacher in Boston, MA who just bought your book via

    FYI—I attended the Massachusetts Teachers Association Annual meeting this past weekend as a retiree delegate and member of the Educators for a Democratic Union caucus. We elected a Barbara Madeloni, a progressive candidate, as MTA president in opposition to the status quo one. Google Barbara Madeloni and Northampton MA to get more info about her. We’re very excited.

    Thanks for your advocacy of public education!

    Maureen O’Connor

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