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Making the Internet Archive useful

The Internet Archive is a wonderful project, but I'm a little worried that they aren't learning the lesson of successes like Flickr.

The Internet Archive's mission is to preserve as much as possible of the internet (including images, movies, music) in a reliable long-term storage system. It's an excellent plan, run with a librarian's approach which is missing from many internet startups. These startups and their customers are generating lots of fantastic information, but I don't think there's any attempt to preserve this data for future generations.

Anyway. One lesson from Flickr is that their success is largely due to the ability for people to embed Flickr photo collections into their own websites, blogs, etc. They have features such as being able to access your Flickr collection as an RSS feed. The Internet Archive has nothing like this. There is the Ourmedia project, which is a nice project about putting a friendly and social interface onto the Internet Archive, but not much for the existing range of excellent content stored at archive.org.

Here's something which I hope might help: I've created a tool which transforms an archive.org search into an RSS feed. Feedback welcome. It's only a start, but I hope that tools like this could make it possible for archive.org's content to spread outwards throughout the internet. Let's turn the biggest online public archive into a lending library!

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