A Valuable Research Tool: The “Way Back Machine”
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.