The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is quite useful for getting around broken links. You can think of it like a search engine for missing stuff – the Archive preserves copies of webpages and other resources as they appeared at different points in the past, allowing you to read/print/save resources that would otherwise be unavailable.
The basic interface looks like this:
The easiest way is to search by entering the URL for the missing resource. For example, to search for
https://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/1-Outline-of-US-History-Chapter-7-1.pdf, simply copy and paste the full URL into the Wayback Machine search box. That will bring up a calendar view, focused on the latest capture for that link.
The URL above was last captured on July 5, 2016. Click the linked date above the calendar or click on the blue-colored day itself in the calendar to bring up the resource.
You can also save yourself a couple steps by adding this text before the broken URL in your browser’s address bar:
For example, using the same URL as before:
Visiting that URL in your browser will bring up a calendar view similar to the one pictured above.
Nevertheless, when a resource goes missing, the Wayback Machine often comes to the rescue.
The best way to learn about the Wayback Machine is to use it, and you don’t have to wait until you have a broken link to look up. Try our homepage or your favorite website, then explore the calendar to see how that site looked in the past.