The Wayback Machine at Archive.org is an extraordinary achievement. It's the brainchild of internet gazillionaire Brewster Kahle, who realized in the mid-1990s that everything published digitally would disappear forever unless someone worked to preserve it.
As he told CNet:
We're out to help build the Library of Alexandria version 2, starting with humankind's published works, books, music, video, Web pages, software, and make it available to everyone anywhere at anytime, and forever. We started archiving the Web in 1996 with snapshots every two months of all publicly accessible Web pages. The "Wayback Machine" is now about 85 billion pages and 1.5 petabytes.
For those of us in politics, however, it serves a bit more of a pedestrian purpose - though one that's no less important: Keeping political parties and politicians accountable for their words.
For example, without the Wayback Machine, this excellent little nugget from the Oregon Republican Party platform (the "Crime and Justice" section) would have been lost:
7.5 [We propose] Inter-jurisdictional agency cooperation shall be improved for more effective joint action against organized crime, drug cartels, terrorist networks and the Oregon Democratic Party.
To their credit, the live version no longer includes that language - but I gotta ask: Did anyone at the Oregon Republican Party actually read their platform before it was approved at the state convention in July 2006?
I wonder what else we might find in the Wayback Machine. Start searching.