International Journal on Digital Libraries

, Volume 14, Issue 3–4, pp 101–115 | Cite as

Who and what links to the Internet Archive

  • Yasmin AlNoamany
  • Ahmed AlSum
  • Michele C. Weigle
  • Michael L. Nelson


The Internet Archive’s (IA) Wayback Machine is the largest and oldest public Web archive and has become a significant repository of our recent history and cultural heritage. Despite its importance, there has been little research about how it is discovered and used. Based on Web access logs, we analyze what users are looking for, why they come to IA, where they come from, and how pages link to IA. We find that users request English pages the most, followed by the European languages. Most human users come to Web archives because they do not find the requested pages on the live Web. About 65 % of the requested archived pages no longer exist on the live Web. We find that more than 82 % of human sessions connect to the Wayback Machine via referrals from other Web sites, while only 15 % of robots have referrers. Most of the links (86 %) from Websites are to individual archived pages at specific points in time, and of those 83 % no longer exist on the live Web. Finally, we find that users who come from search engines browse more pages than users who come from external Web sites.


Web archiving Web server logs Web usage mining  Robots detection Language detection 



This work was supported in part by the NSF (IIS 1009392) and the Library of Congress. We thank Kris Carpenter Negulescu (Internet Archive) for access to the anonymized Wayback Machine logs.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yasmin AlNoamany
    • 1
  • Ahmed AlSum
    • 1
  • Michele C. Weigle
    • 1
  • Michael L. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA

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