Memento (nods to the Christopher Nolan’s genius) wants “establish a web that has a memory”. It’s part protocol / part browser tool that aims to make it easier to see a web resource at a past time of your choosing. In the video above I take a few steps back in time form 2014 through 1996, to look at my first site for the Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction and just for grins, tried to take the same steps back for Time magazine

If you know the URI of a Web resource, the technical framework proposed by Memento allows you to see a version of that resource as it existed at some date in the past, by entering that URI in your browser like you always do and by specifying the desired date in a browser plug-in.

Yes, you can do a lot of this via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, but Memento aims to make it more integrated and also taps into more archives.

You need to first install the Chrome Extension. The tool is used (like the Delorean) to select the date in the past you want to travel back to

set time

Then as you go around the current web, the contextual menu (ctrl-click in the browser) provides a Memento time travel option, to go back to the date you had set:

contextural menu

(Of course did not exist in 1996… or did it?)

It’s an interesting tool… well only of you enjoy time travel. It’s not for everyone.

Just for grins, and to let you know these things don’t fall from the sky, my finding this was all about wandering about associative trails.

This morning I followed a link in a tweet by Kin Lane to his post Evolving Beyond Just Resources Towards A More Experience Based API Design. I was curious about the use of his Link API (see the comments for discussion), but it got me thinking about the Internet Archive, and what sort of APIs they offer.

Thinking means googling something like Internet Archive API (#notRocketScience but then again after today #evenRocketScientistsHaveTroubleWithRockers) where indeed I did find the information about the Wayback Machine APIs. And there towards the bottom is mention of a Memento API

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine is also fully compliant with the Memento Protocol The Memento API provides additional interfaces for querying snapshots (eg ‘Mementos’) in the Wayback Machine. The Availability API is partially based on the Memento APIs.

And that’s the way I bounce.

Time to rev up your DeLorean.

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by Sascha Grant

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Fascinating.
    Yesterday, I gave a talk titled “the web is going from space to time” where I show that even tho we built the web around a “spatial” analogy and lexicon, usages are pushing us toward a time-based perception of it now. When we used siteMAPs, ADDRESS bars, we’re now using timelines, scrolls… etc. When we used procedural programing based on location (Apache config!) we now use functional evented code (Node.js)… etc.

    The browsers we use today are still mostly “space organized”, but in the future, I’m sure we’ll see more “time organized” browsing… with, obviously the ability to see older content or ‘subscribe’ to future content.

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