Some of the most intriguing resources on the web are located in archives—compilations of data that in the past, could only be found by making appointments in dusty libraries. Today, I'm going to take you on a quick tour through some of the most fascinating archives on the web.
If you're looking for historical maps, you'll want to try the David Rumsey Map Collection, an archive of over 15,000 maps online.
The Rosetta Project is an ambitious archival project, aiming to build a "publicly accessible online archive of ALL documented human languages."
For newsy items, you'll want to check out Google News Archives, an easy way to browse past copies of newspapers, journals and news magazines. In addition, Wikipedia has compiled a long list of online newspaper archives.
The Rockefeller Archives is a seriously huge online resource; literally hundreds of thousands of documents are available here for viewing in at least six different archival collections.
You can browse the Smoking Gun's archives clear back to 1997; lots of specific celebrity crime information available here (complete with mugshots).
How about a few movie reviews? You can scroll through over 5,000 (!) movie reviews at the Balcony Archives.
If you're a classical music fan, browse the Mutopia archives for music organized by instrument, composer and style.
NOVA, a public television program, has made available an archive of over 170 companion sites to their program lineup. Organized by subjects from anthropology to technology.
In addition, the British Library has put together 12,000 selected recordings of music, spoken word and human and natural environments.
Need a comics fix? Try the Calvin and Hobbes Archive, a collection of strips dating back to 1985.
If you're looking for storm archives, you can't do much better than the National Hurricane Center Archives. Some of these collections go back hundreds of years.
You can't write an article about archives and not mention the Internet Archives, a splendiferous collection of So. Many. Things. If you're looking for web-specific archives, try the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, a collection of site snapshots that allow you to see a site as it was back in the day.
Go back in browser history over at the Browser Archive; hey, there's Mosaic! You can also take a look at what my garage looks like (spouse collects old computers) at the Obsolete Computers archive, a funky but wonderful array of vintage technology.
One of my most favorite sites on the web is the National Archives, a vast collection of archived historical documents available to the general public. There's also the Archive of Folk Culture, the archive of terrorist attacks on the United States, and the Department of Labor archives.
Of course, this is really just the tip of the iceberg archive. Got any favorite archival sites to share? Thoughts in the comments.