Monday, 24 May 2010

Websites for Writers: Internet Archive

If you're a writer, you simply must know about the Internet Archive. This site is an immense resource of texts, sounds, and images that can help you with your research.

It's impossible to list all of the resources here, but here's a brief list of some highlights:

280,400 movies: silent classics, TV commercials, home movies, military training films, etc.

78,234 concerts: from the early days of recording to modern times, including a huge Grateful Dead collection.

546,754 recordings: audio books, podcasts, poetry readings, early radio, sermons, etc.

2,310,000 texts: pretty much anything you can think of.

A lot of these resources are links to other sites, but the Internet Archive has it all in an easily searchable form. Say, for example, you have Yiddish characters. Well, they have half of the books ever printed in Yiddish online. Want to know what played during the intermission at a drive-in theater back in the Fifties? They have it. Writing a hairy-chested action novel set in Afghanistan? Check out the videos of Taliban military operations. I'm not sure I want to know how they got those.

Whatever you need to know, the Internet Archive can help. The only problem with this site is that it's so damn distracting you might never get back to writing!

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Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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