Tech

How to Use Internet Archives to Access Missing Pages: Yet Another Guide for Sen. Tito Sotto

*whispers* The Internet remembers...
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Have you ever had an important webpage just...suddenly disappear? And with it, all remaining hope in our country's highest officials? Yeah, we know. It can be a real pain in the neck, and sometimes, in the rights of our fourth estate.

Thankfully, the Internet being what it is, all is not lost. There are web-based tools that allow you to archive almost any webpage of your choosing. This means that even if a webpage is taken down or changed, you can always access the version of it that you archived. Convenient, right?

The Wayback Machine is one such tool. It can take snapshots of web pages at particular points in time, so that they may be publicly viewed as a history. All you'd need to do is to input the page's URL, and the Wayback Machine will record that page's contents at that time, for future users' reference. So if your important webpage is gone, you can check if anyone took previous snapshots of it using the Wayback Machine.

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Take for example this totally random article about Senate President Tito Sotto's alleged involvement in the sexual abuse of then-underage actress Pepsi Paloma in 1982. Last week, that URL linked to a 2014 article that recounted the rape case filed by Paloma against Sotto's younger brother, Vic and two other comedians: Eat Bulaga! host Joey de Leon and Richie D'Horsie. The article also alleges that the older Sotto coerced Paloma into withdrawing the charges against his brother, which she did, before her mysterious death in 1985. However, as of yesterday, the same URL links to a strange statement from the Inquirer.

Even if a webpage is taken down or changed, you can always access the version of it that you archived

Thankfully, some concerned individuals used The Wayback Machine to take snapshots of the page before it was redirected, so that anyone who might want to revisit the Inquirer's original article can do so freely. One need only input the URL itself, and The Wayback Machine can show you archived snapshots. In this case, it's globalnation.inquirer.net/99861/the-rape-of-pepsi-paloma

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Likewise, one may also turn to Archive-It to revisit older versions of a webpage. This tool also allows you to take snapshots of existing pages, in case you're a staunch receipt-collector. In fact, go ahead and test the feature out by taking a snapshot of this very webpage, because you'll never know what might happen to it!

TimeTravel by MementoWeb has the same feature, and can "reconstruct" web pages from the past.

Other sites like Webcite have the same snapshot feature as well.

And if you can find the webpage using Google Search, all you'd need to do is to click on the green arrow to the right of your search result, and then click "Cached". Google keeps a cache of webpage snapshots which can still be accessed as well.

Then of course, if you'd really like to make an webpage live forever, you can always do it the old-fashioned way: screenshots! One Reddit user demonstrated this method by posting an Imgur album with full-page screenshots of two articles that he or she thought would be worth saving—maybe just for posterity.

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So for as long as people care enough to keep something alive, the Internet will find a way. And hey, whatever happens, we'll always have the "Spoliarium".

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About The Author
Miguel Escobar
Assistant Features Editor for Esquire Philippines
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