About the Time Travel Service
Last updated: September 22, 2016


Time Travel helps you find and view versions of web pages that existed at some time in the past.

These prior versions of web pages are named Mementos. Mementos can be found in web archives or in systems that support versioning such as wikis and revision control systems​.

If you operate a web archive or versioning system, it could be included in the Time Travel service too. Interested? Check out the Memento Introduction and the available Memento Tools. Let us know if we can be of help by sending mail to the Memento Development Group.

The Time Travel portal offers two distinct services: Find and Reconstruct​.
Time Travel Find
Time Travel Find supports discovering Mementos in various web archives and version control systems. It checks a whole range of servers to accomplish its task. This includes servers that natively support the Memento "Time Travel for the Web" protocol (​RFC7089​) and servers that don't. The list is continuously growing:
When you enter the web address of a page and a time in the past, the Time Travel Find service tries to locate, in the aforementioned systems, Mementos for that page that date back from around the time of your choice. The service will return a list of Mementos, one per archive that actually holds one. Mementos are listed according to how close their archival datetime is to the requested time. This will work for addresses of pages that currently exist on the web but also for those that have meanwhile vanished. When entering a time, don't forget the web is relatively young and web archives are even younger.

In most cases, Mementos that are found will not exactly match the requested time for the simple reason that the page was not preserved then. When following a link to a Memento in a specific archive, be aware that it may not exactly look the way it did in the past: embedded media may be missing, scripts may no longer work, or the rendering may be off. In short, the past may not look perfect. But then again, did it when it was the present?

The Time Travel Find​service provides an easy way to discover Mementos. If you actually want to navigate the web of the past or quickly see what the page at the end of a dead link looked like, consider installing the Memento Time Travel extension for the Chrome browser. That's a whole new world that will open up for you.
Time Travel Reconstruct
Time Travel Reconstruct plays back a Memento using components from various web archives and version control systems. It checks a whole range of servers that comply with the Memento "Time Travel for the Web" protocol (​RFC7089​) to accomplish its task. The list is continuously growing:
When you enter the web address of a page and a time in the past, the Time Travel Reconstruct service tries to reassemble a Memento for that page that dates back from around the time of your choice. Various components (the HTML, images, style sheets, etc.) that make up the Memento of the page are pulled from various Memento-compliant systems, in an attempt to create a Memento that contains components with an archival datetime closest to the requested time. A bar chart shows from which systems the various components were pulled and which components are missing. A timeline shows the distribution of archival datetimes of the various components and hence hints at how closely the reconstructed Memento may resemble the page that actually lived on the web at the requested time. As is the case with Mementos in most web archives, the Memento that is provided may never really have existed; rather, it is a best effort approximation of the past.

Time Travel Reconstruct has been created by Ilya Kremer for the Memento team and is powered by pywb, an open-source Memento-compliant customizable python wayback machine implementation, and the Memento Time Travel API. Ilya Kreymer is currently developing a new web archiving service at https://webrecorder.io




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