Visiting the Wayback Machine

By Deane Barker on September 11, 2007

So, I went for a walk through the Presidio, and I stumbled upon the sign pictured above, which I have to say I didn’t expect to see.

I was taking a picture of it, and Kevin Kelly walked up behind me. He confirmed that this was the actual Wayback Machine — their headquarters, anyway.

Then he said, “Is anyone home?” and walked in. Turns out he used to office in the same building. And that’s how I got a tour of the Wayback Machine by one of the founders of Wired Magazine. (Did I just write that?)

Now, remember, this was just the headquarters. The actual Wayback Machine is technically in a data center somewhere in the Bay Area. But this is where it started. It’s a 100-year-old building with stuff lying all over.

Kelly pointed to a room in the corner and said, “That’s where the tape drive used to sit.”

There were pictures on the wall showing the Internet’s topography over the years. I watched some guy in a room calibrating a book scanner loaded with some book that looked about a hundred years old. In the corner was a huge rack of hard drives that I’m guessing was waiting to be delivered to the data center.

And, in another corner, was a bookshelf. Fittingly, the most visible book on this shelf was “The Public Domain” by Nolo Press.

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