Help:Research With the Internet Archive

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The Internet Archive is a good source for historical information singe the turn of the century, and sometimes as far back as 1996.

Paste the URL of the party you're researching into the Wayback Machine at archive.org -- the current home URL if that's the only domain name you're aware of it having, or the earliest one you know of if you know about earlier versions. Getting all years to work is tricky as it will soemtimes skip years if you just click on the year. A workaround is to change the month in the URL to something other than January -- July usually works. For example, http://wayback.archive.org/web/19980701000000*/http://www.lpf.org/ instead of http://wayback.archive.org/web/19980101000000*/http://www.lpf.org/ (notice the difference -- replace the 1 after 1998 in 19980101000000 with a 7 for July: 19980701000000.

Some states list their county parties. It may be possible to find earlier addresses for county parties at its state party site, and it may be able to find earlier versions of a state party by searching earlier versions of lp.org

Systematically click through different versions of the site to look for different things that you may be looking for as time progresses. There may have been a historical summary that got lost or forgotten about. There might be old newsletter or logos that no one remembers. You can also typically find different memberships of the executive committee as time progresses, giving you names and a basis for estimating who held what position when and for how long.

Note that starting with lp.org for California you can often get pages that are older than the ones found during the research for California with AutostubLP2.


Example of an Easy Search

  1. Visit the Internet Archive by typing in 'archive.org' or http://www.archive.org
  2. In this case let's look for the Orange County party in California. If we start with http://lp.org, you will see that there is a version available from 1996. Click on 1996 and it shuld take you there. Avoid clicking on the histogram above it, as that will take you somewhere less useful. If you do that hit your back button and try again.
  3. From the http://wayback.archive.org/web/19960101000000*/http://lp.org page, where you should be right now, open the page for 6 November 1996. You should see photos of Harry Browne and Jo Jorgensen and a logo for the 1996 convention.
  4. The page is very simple by today's standards, and it should be easy to pick out 'Info by State' as the seventh item down. Click on that or open it in a new window or tab.'
  5. You should easily find your way to California, then to Orange County at http://web.archive.org/web/19961106051233/http://www.lp.org/lp/ca/lpsc.html
  6. Replace the datestamp information with * to go to http://wayback.archive.org/web/*/http://www.lpoc.org/ and you can now access every stored page from the oldest preserved page to the most recent.
  7. Open each version, of the page in a new tab or window and retrieve the information you're looking for. The earliest page doesn't list the executive committee, but the second oldest one does: http://web.archive.org/web/19980611070535/http://www.lpoc.org/

Example of a Less Easy Search

  1. Visit the Internet Archive by typing in 'archive.org' or http://www.archive.org
  2. In this case let's look for the Travis County party in Texas. The current version of the Texas site is lptexas.org, so let's start there and type in http://lptexas.org.
  3. This goes back to 2001, but can we go back even earlier? In another window or tab, repeat the steps that got you here with http://lp.org. Click on 1996.
  4. Open the page for 6 November 1996.
  5. Go to 'Info by State' as the seventh item down. Click on that or open it in a new window or tab.'
  6. You should easily find your way to Texas, which will take you to http://web.archive.org/web/19961106042822/http://www.lp.org/tx/ -- and you will see that Jay Manifold was the current chair, and a link to the then already superseded Texas page at http://web.archive.org/web/19990116230851/http://www.io.com/~freedom/lptxhome.html -- which gives us both the then current page at http://www.tx.lp.org to search on and the even older site at http://www.io.com/~freedom/lptxhome.html to search.
  7. Replace 19990116230851 in the URL for the old site with * to show you the versions the archive has for us. Sadly, it can only provide us with 1999 and 2000, so let's click on 1999 and the one for 16 January again. If this site had links for counties we could search it from there, but at this end of the road, there are no handy links for counties.
  8. As we look at the oldest version of the 'newer' site at http://web.archive.org/web/19980123215626/http://www.tx.lp.org/ we also see some nice information for the state (Jay Manifold is still state chair, Gary Johnson (the former LNC member, not the future presidential candidate) chairs the Publicity & Advertising Committee, and someone called The Mat Hatter is one of the SLEC's representatives for state senate district 28 as of June 1997, but nothing for county party links. Let's look for a slightly less old version.
  9. On 3 March 2000 there is finally a link for county organizations, and the oldest version of the page with the counties that you can find at http://wayback.archive.org/web/20000101000000*/http://www.tx.lp.org/counties.html is 14 April. Only nine counties are listed, but fortunately Travis County is one of them: clicking on it sends you to http://web.archive.org/web/20000819112455/http://www.austinliberty.org/TCLP/index.html and you can look for earlier by changing that to http://wayback.archive.org/web/*/http://www.austinliberty.org/ -- which gets you to http://web.archive.org/web/20000816070253/http://www.austinliberty.org/
  10. As you may have noticed, you're still not in luck as there doesn't appear to be a handy page listing the executive committee, although you can find mention of some of the names, such as Nancy Neale and David Eagle (who turns out to be the chair) in the meetings link, for example. There's information from the county convention -- a candidate for State Representative was defeated by NOTA -- which is great news if you're looking for candidates and nominees, but it doesn't list victors for party offices if you'er just looking for the executive committee. Please let this be a lesson in setting up your county party site! Even today there are county party sites that make this information difficult to impossible to find!
  11. As you move forward in time, You'll find a site overhaul at http://web.archive.org/web/20010516222318/http://www.austinliberty.org/ and a 'contact us' link at which you can start recording who had what position when without a lot of digging. Moving forward from there you'll find a link to an unfortunately not preserved site for Williamson County with information and a group photo (perhaps this suggests a strategy for hunting for more information on smaller counties). You'll also end up finding that the county party URL changes to travislp.org -- whew!