Use the WaybackMachine with Any URL in OS X

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to click on any link, whether it’s in a Word document, your web browser, or an archival file, and be immediately brought to the WaybackMachine? Well, we can, using a simple OS X automator script.

Here it is in action, on a URL within TextEdit. Click on that, be brought to the WaybackMachine.

Here it is in action, on a URL within TextEdit. Click on that, be brought to the WaybackMachine.

The script is very simple, and is available for download here. All it does it take a URL fed to it through the operating system, uses the “Add Prefix String” add-on, downloaded from here,  and then prepends a URL with http://web.archive.org/web/.

It’s been useful in one particular context for me. I’ve been doing a lot of work with Internet Archive scrapes. I am largely working with plain text, created using WARC Tools, ingested into Solr, and then visualized using the Carrot2 clustering search engine. The issue is that when I go down into the level of the individual document, they’re rendered like this:

The plain text output of WARC Tools, viewed in Carrot2.

The plain text output of WARC Tools, viewed in Carrot2.

Which is good for text analysis purposes, but not so good for seeing the real thing. But now:

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 12.42.09 PM

Right click on the file, click on WaybackMachine, and…

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 12.43.14 PM

With that, I’ve made a lot of progress on my major summer project which was to explore ways for historians to use the Internet Archive’s 80TB Wide Web Scrape. Hopefully there can be an official announcement about some of this relatively soon (he cryptically writes).

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