Who are they?
Internet Archive defines itself as a “digital library”. Much like most libraries nowadays you can find more than just books. From old manuscripts and journals to offline websites or floppy shareware… IA’s mission is Universal Access to All Knowledge.
What do they do?
First of all IA works to digitize new material, such as books or VHS tapes that probably haven’t made it on the internet yet.
And then there’s the Wayback Machine which started it all! It allows you to capture snapshots of webpages. Hence the name it works like a time machine, allowing you to view past versions of websites or even those which are no longer online.
They also have a whole bunch of other projects, including one which allows users to borrow rare books from libraries and keep a 14-day e-book version. See https://archive.org/projects/ for more information.
How do they do it?
Although it may come as a surprise, the internet archive has a physical location. The physical (books and similar materials) and virtual archives (servers and digitization equipment) are located inside of a former Christian Science church.
Most of their work comes out of here, although they are known to often collaborate with other libraries/archives or acquire collections from different collectors.
How do I sign up?
If you would like to work for the Internet Archive at their physical location you could check out https://archive.org/about/jobs.php.
That being said, anyone can browse the archives* and you can start an account if you’d like to upload items of your own from anywhere in the world**. You heard right! All you have to do to contribute to the Internet Archive is sign up right from the comfort of your home.
So what are you waiting for? Become an Internet Archiver today! https://archive.org/account/signup
*Browsing certain material (generally sensitive or graphic content) might require you to sign in with a registered account.
**Using the WaybackMachine to make captures of websites won’t require a registered account.