open access


This article explores the challenges posed by digitalization as a process of culture-making by examining the Internet Archive digital library and more specifically its components, the Wayback Machine and Archive-It. These are digital tools that enable the discovery and archiving of obsolete webpages as well as the restoration, preservation, management, and classification of these “electronic wastelands,” while also adding to their historicity. The article emphasizes the ways in which the Wayback Machine and Archive-It contribute to the preservation of cultural memory of the United States, looking at specific examples drawn from the diverse material to which the archives offer access. Using the Internet Archive and, more specifically, its components as case studies, the article investigates the value of web archives as cultural repositories, where cultural memory is not only preserved but also created and expanded through their participatory aspects and the engagement of the general public with the continuously proliferating born-digital content.