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The Wayback Machine

Most societies agree that it is important to preserve artifacts of their culture and heritage. Without such artifacts, civilization has no memory and no mechanism to learn from its successes and failures. Our culture now produces more and more artifacts in digital form.

If you have not already read Falmouth Public Library employee Nick McCavitt’s article in the the FalmouthPatch on July 27th, “Travel Back in Time: The Falmouth Public Library,” it is worth reading and looking at the pictures of the Library as it looked many years ago. Indeed, words and pictures certainly help us “travel back in time.”

The article got us thinking about a website that travels back in time, too:  The Wayback Machine.* With the mission to preserve digital artifacts, the Wayback Machine is an historical archive of web pages managed by the Internet Archive.  Imagine!  Artifacts in digital form!  A far cry from fossils, tattered relics, and even sepia photographs! 

Take a look at the FPL’s first website.

Our first website was created in 2000 by Juniper Graphics of Woods Hole.  Like photographs of the Library, the images on the opening web page bring back many memories, and the site serves as a time capsule not only for us presently, but for future generations of patrons, as well.  Consider the image of the pre-restored dome, the quilted fire-breathing dragon, or one of our favorite images that has become a symbol of our Reference Department—the magic eight ball!

Feel free to reminisce if our old website brings back any memories for you!

In the meantime, will FPL continue to produce and preserve artifacts for the community and the world?

The magic eight ball says, “You may rely on it!”

* According to the Internet Archive, the name of the Wayback Machine is a direct reference to the 1950’s and 60’s cartoon, Peabody’s Improbable History, featuring Mr. Peabody and “his boy” Sherman.  Many of you may remember that in each episode Mr. Peabody and Sherman traveled back in time through the WABAC Machine.  In fact, Mr. Peabody even adds a translator circuit to the WABAC Machine in order to translate when they visit foreign lands.  Did you know that much like the Mr. Peabody’s WABAC Machine, the Library’s database Mango Languages can translate many languages? 

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