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The Internet Archive has been fighting for 25 years to keep what’s on the web from disappearing – and you can help

People are warned that what they post on the internet will live forever. But that’s not really the case. 3alexd/E+ via Getty Images

The Internet Archive has been fighting for 25 years to keep what’s on the web from disappearing – and you can help

People are warned that what they post on the internet will live forever. But that’s not really the case. 3alexd/E+ via Getty Images

The Internet Archive has been fighting for 25 years to keep what’s on the web from disappearing – and you can help

People are warned that what they post on the internet will live forever. But that’s not really the case. 3alexd/E+ via Getty Images

The Internet Archive has been fighting for 25 years to keep what’s on the web from disappearing – and you can help

People are warned that what they post on the internet will live forever. But that’s not really the case. 3alexd/E+ via Getty Images

People and organizations remove content from the web for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s a result of changing internet culture, such as the recent shutdown of Yahoo Answers.

Kayla Harris, University of Dayton; Christina Beis, University of Dayton, and Stephanie Shreffler, University of Dayton

This year the Internet Archive turns 25. It’s best known for its pioneering role in archiving the internet through the Wayback Machine, which allows users to see how websites looked in the past.

Increasingly, much of daily life is conducted online. School, work, communication with friends and family, as well as news and images, are accessed through a variety of websites. Information that once was printed, physically mailed or kept in photo albums and notebooks may now be available only online. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed even more interactions to the web.

You may not realize portions of the internet are constantly disappearing. As librarians and archivists, we strengthen collective memory by preserving materials that document the cultural heritage of society, including on the web. You can help us save the internet, too, as a citizen archivist.

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