The Internet Archive has a great collection of books, music, visual items and websites but, it had one thing lacking up until now – archive of software. This has changed recently as Jason Scott puts it – “The Internet Archive is the largest collection of historical software online in the world. Find me someone bigger.”
The expansion at the Internet Archive has come through collaboration with other independent archives like that Disk Drives collection, the FTP site boneyard, Shareware CD Archive, and the TOSEC archive. The archive doesn’t hold just the software – it also holds documentation as well.
All is not good through as Scott puts it, “our metadata is shit”. According to Jason even though it is a minor issue, it can be improved. Giving an example of the Apple I manual, he said that the manual is just there without much detail like page listing, context, or description. Another problem with the software archive as of now is that quite a lot of content is inside other archives which can be accessed using Archive.org’s file browser and it would require a little digging to get to.
“There is now a fully-accessible, worldwide-reachable, massive-bandwidth and completely unrestricted collection of computer history up right now, in these collections I’ve just mentioned”, notes Scott.
“The Archive of Historical Computer Software is here, and it is very, very large”, he adds.