Wayback Machine



LNCtips.com:  Wayback Machine

If you're of a certain age, you know that Mr. Peabody was a genius cartoon dog on the old Rocky and Bullwinkle television show.  On the show, Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman used the WABAC (pronounced "wayback") machine to go back in history.  The internet has its own Wayback Machine that lets legal nurse consultants find past versions of websites.  How does that help you as an LNC?  Let's find out.

The Wayback Machine is an internet archive site that includes over 240 billion web pages, some dating back to 1996.  Many websites are dynamic, meaning that that they change frequently.  The Wayback Machine takes snapshots of webpages as they appear over time.  It allows LNCs to retrieve older versions of webpages, including altered and deleted pages.  This is particularly important in researching product liability cases in which manufacturers made implied or explicit promises to consumers.  It's also important for LNCs to determine if any of the promises changed over time.

To access older versions or deleted pages of a website, type the URL (web address) into the space provided, and then click on Take Me Back.  The Wayback Machine will then present a timeline with a bar graph from 1996 to the present.  Click on a year, and a calendar will appear with some dates highlighted.  The highlighted dates are when the Wayback machine took snapshots of the website.  Click on a date and the website opens as it looked on that date.  Have patience; the website may be slow to open.  Most links will be functional but also slow to open.  They may also open to the linked page for another date.  The Wayback Machine has limitations.  It can't archive webpages that require passwords, so it doesn't take snapshots of social media websites.  It also doesn't archive forms or other elements that require interaction, thus losing the functionality of those webpages.

Although the creators of the Wayback Machine didn't design it for legal use, they have a legal page that describes its policy for responding to information requests.  They will also provide printed webpages and a standard affidavit for authenticity.  However, the Wayback Machine is a non-profit organization with limited staff so it would prefer that attorneys ask the opposing party to stipulate to the  authenticity of documents found on the Wayback Machine.

...Katy Jones