If you’ve logged onto the Internet Archive recently, you might’ve noticed that humanity’s ultimate information dump has a pretty new face. And about time too.
The Internet Archive is a digital library with a Herculean task: providing “universal access to all knowledge”. It houses over 10 petabytes — that’s 10,000,000,000,000,000 bytes — of information. It’s got music, videos, books, software, and snapshots of basically the entire internet.
Presenting that much information to the general public requires one hell of a good website, something that the Archive has traditionally lacked. The old design, which has lingered for years, feels like a parking-ticket portal merged with a fly-fishing forum. It’s the very opposite of user-friendly, with unintelligable walls of text, and visual design that just screams public library.
That’s why the not-for-profit has slowly but surely been rolling out a new design to users. The beta went live back in February, and 85% of users are now meant to be seeing the new page. It’s sleeker, far less cluttered, does not involve the words ‘501(c)(3)‘ anywhere on the home page — and, most importantly, actually works on mobile and tablet devices.
That’s not just good news for work-obsessed bloggers who like stalking old versions of websites. The Archive has a stupendous amount of cool stuff hidden away, like the thousands of playable MS-DOS games, the 1982 E.T. Atari game, and things like TV news footage from 9/11.
The new design makes it far too likely that you’ll get sucked into a fantastic vortex of old internet culture. Libraries are meant to be repositories of human knowledge; think of this redesign as the 21st Century Dewey Decimal Classification. But with flatter design.
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