The best aspect of the World-Wide Web over the last 20 years has been the instant availability of all types of data, photos, notes, records, documents, newspapers, magazines, etc. at our finger tips. This great revolution in technology is not just a wonderful asset for family history researchers, but of course for any field of knowledge. There is a non-profit organization well established since 1996 on the Internet known as Internet Archive. Its objective is to provide photos, music, documents, records, radio broadcasts, websites, videos, movie films as well as public domain books. Open to the general public it allows anyone with a computer and Internet connection (either in their home, work or library) to upload and download information in a digital format free of charge. It has created an Internet library of all types of information for all types of historians and researchers, plus the all of the public. Its slogan is “Universal Access to All Knowledge.”
Once you have register free a screen name and password you are all set to search the files. On the Internet Archive site there are different taps along the top which show the categories. Some of the most useful are Text, Moving Images and Audio. You can search a certain category or use the search box at the top and select from the dropdown ‘All Media Types’. Place a keyword, names, location or date; such as the 1910s and look over what is available. Since new material is being added all the time, if you don’t find something of special interest, check back in a couple months.
Their big goal is to scan into digital format as many books of all types to make available with this Internet Archive. As with any library, this is unique in that it is digital (electronic) format and can be shared anywhere, anytime. It is easy for the information to be stored in numerous locations, verse a traditional library with print material. If there is only one or two copies of a certain item, something happens to that print object, it can be gone forever.
So give yourself some time when you start to explore Internet Archive. With thousands and thousands of items, it will take awhile to review.