‘Cat in the Stacks: Procrastifun on the Internet Archive
I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.
It’s spring semester! Break was fantastic, right? Exactly what you needed? Me too. Among the hundreds of reasons recesses rule—Christmas cookies and sleeping in ranking first and second, of course—is using the Internet for procrastifun™ again and not having to feel guilty about it.
Have you ever visited the Internet Archive? Be careful you don’t get lost forever. I’ve used the archive for a few classes so far, once to find really obscure scans of a folklore journal from the 1800s, and very frequently to listen to the Ulysses audiobook (Dear Ulysses audiobook, you are the real MVP of last semester, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, you darling, sweet child).
But I’m starting to use it for fun—admittedly when I should probably be doing other things—because so much is archived on this site and it blows my mind. Their tagline, “Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more,” is an undersell.
The archive got a lot of attention in tech and gaming circles recently for hosting an archive of MS-DOS games (they also host libraries of classic arcade and console games). I just revisited the classic Aladdin game and while I failed miserably, I failed in a nice, nostalgic way. Lemmings is next on the list—or maybe Oregon Trail.
I also browsed a collection of sheet music and found a user-uploaded Avatar (The Last Airbender, not the blue cat people) medley, a whole medley—not a preview—for free use. Looks like I’m going to have to brush up on piano again.
I’d say if you’re not looking for anything in particular, scroll to the “Top Collections at the Archive” at the bottom of the homepage and just poke around. Today, my poking around has led me to a collection of video game speedruns. And, oh no, my weakness: live music performances.
The coolest part of this choice of procrastifun is you might easily stumble upon something really useful for research. Honestly, if you’re going to procrastinate on schoolwork, you might as well put yourself in the same general region of actual research, right? It’s a big step up from the Robot Unicorn Attack tournaments I had on Facebook as an undergrad, right?
… I’ll keep telling myself that.
Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.
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