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Internet History Archives

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I'm an avid fan of the history of the Internet. The Net's history is still relatively under-documented, and though there's a lot of source material available via the web, it's not always easy to find.

Fortunately, there are a few excellent books on the history of the Net, and "Where Wizards Stay Up Late" by Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon is one of the best. Although the book is written in an easy to read, narrative style that focuses more on the people who conceived and built the Net rather than on its underlying technology, Hafner relied heavily on an impressive collection of source materials to assure technical credibility.

More than 260 of these source documents are now online and freely available, thanks to the folks at the Internet Archive, the same people who gave us the Wayback Machine archive of the web. The collection offers fascinating glimpses of the past, ranging from detailed technical plans to personal email messages among team members who created the Arpanet, the precursor to today's Internet.

Another excellent resource is maintained by the Internet FAQ Consortium, a volunteer effort that's been around since 1996. Originally a collection of Frequently Asked Questions documents for Usenet, it expanded over the years to include many source documents relating to the development of the Internet.

These include Request for Comments (RFC) documents, the quasi-official working papers used by the various groups responsible for establishing and implementing Net standards. There's also an archive of For Your Information Documents, a great repository of info on all manner of topics relating to the Internet, and for the technically inclined, an archive of Internet Best Current Practices documents.

The Internet Archive: Arpanet Collection
http://www.archive.org/arpanet/index.html

More than 260 original source documents relating to the creation of the Internet's precursor, the Arpanet. Requires the DjVu Browser plug-in to access documents.

DjVu Browser Plug-in
http://www.djvu.com/cgi-bin/products/desc.pl?tsb=25720

This plug-in for Netscape and MS Internet Explorer is the primary means of viewing and navigating DjVu documents. It enables users to zoom and pan in real time. Users may also search the text of a DjVu document upon which Optical Character Recognition (OCR) has been performed. The DjVu Browser Plug-in is available in English, French and German versions.

The Internet FAQ Consortium
http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/

An acronym soup of historical Internet archives, including RFCs, FYIs, STDs and BCPs. The Internet FAQ consortium is currently strapped for funding, so if you find the materials useful you may want to consider contributing funds to help keep it operating.


The Wayback Machine: A Web Archives Search Engine
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd1030-wayback.html

The Wayback Machine is a phenomenal search engine that contains over 100 terabytes and 10 billion web pages archived from 1996 to the present.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

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