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JISC Beginner’s Guide to Digital Preservation

Posted by Marieke Guy on 5th May 2010

Members of UKOLN who were involved in the JISC PoWR project have recently begun work on a new project creating a straightforward and pragmatic guide to digital preservation for those working on JISC projects. The project will create the  JISC Beginner’s Guide to Digital Preservation.

It will look at reasons why JISC projects might want to preserve their deliverables, will introduce mainstream terminology and processes and offer clearcut solutions. The guide will also offer lists of references and resources, a checklist of issues users will need to think about and a number of case-studies by which they will be able to benchmark themselves against.

A number of the discussions initiated on the JISC PoWR blog (such as preservation of Web 2.0 services including blogs and wikis) will be taken forward on the new project.

A project blog has recently been launched at http://blogs.ukoln.ac.uk/jisc-bgdp/

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Official Launch of the UK Web Archive

Posted by Marieke Guy on 26th February 2010

The British Library has officially launched the UK Web Archive, offering access in perpetuity to thousands of UK websites for generations of researchers.

The site was unveiled earlier this week by the Minister for Culture and Tourism, the Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP, and Chief Executive of the British Library, Dame Lynne Brindley, this project demonstrates the importance and value of the nation’s digital memory.

Websites included in the UK Web Archive include:

  • The Credit Crunch – initiated in July 2008, this collection contains records of high-street victims of the recession – including Woolworths and Zavvi.
  • Antony Gormley’s ‘One & Other’ Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth Project – involving 2,400 participants and streamed live by Sky Arts over the web to an audience of millions, this site will no longer exist online from March 2010.
  • 2010 General Election – work has started to preserve the websites of MPs such as Derek Wyatt, who will be retiring at the next election, creating a permanent record of his time as a Member of Parliament.

This important research resource has been developed in partnership with the National Library of Wales, JISC and the Wellcome Library, as well as technology partners such as IBM.

British Library Chief Executive, Dame Lynne Brindley said:

Since 2004 the British Library has led the UK Web Archive in its mission to archive a record of the major cultural and social issues being discussed online. Throughout the project the Library has worked directly with copyright holders to capture and preserve over 6,000 carefully selected websites, helping to avoid the creation of a ‘digital black hole’ in the nation’s memory.

“Limited by the existing legal position, at the current rate it will be feasible to collect just 1% of all free UK websites by 2011. We hope the current DCMS consultation will enact the 2003 Legal Deposit Libraries Act and extend theprovision of legal deposit through regulationto cover freely available UK websites, providingregular snapshots ofthe free UK web domainforthebenefit of future research.

Further details are available from the British Library.

Posted in Digital preservation, Preservation, Web 1.0 | 1 Comment »

Findings available from the KRDS2 Survey

Posted by Marieke Guy on 3rd February 2010

The findings from the Keeping Research Data Safe 2 (KRDS2) survey of digital preservation cost information are now available on the KRDS2 project Web page.

KRDS2

The Keeping Research Data Safe 2 project commenced on 31 March 2009 and will complete in December 2009. The project will identify and analyse sources of long-lived data and develop longitudinal data on associated preservation costs and benefits. It is believed that these outcomes will be critical to developing preservation costing tools and cost benefit analyses for justifying and sustaining major investments in repositories and data curation.

The Survey

The survey was carried out between between September and November 2009 to identify key research data collections with information on preservation costs and related issues. 13 survey responses were received: 11 of these were from UK-based collections, and 2 were from mainland Europe. The responses covered a broad area of research including the arts and humanities, social sciences, and physical and biological sciences and research data archives or cultural heritage collections.

The survey questionnaire sought to identify cost information available for the main KRDS2 activities in the Pre-Archive and Archive phases. Information for some activities is very high (archival storage cost information is available in 100% of the responses). Other more infrequent activities such as disposal (and perhaps also preservation planning) are less well represented. Knowledge of acquisition costs is also relatively low (46%).

Further information is available from the KRDS2 project Web page.


				

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Why you can sometimes leave it to the University

Posted by Ed Pinsent on 8th September 2009

“Does anyone have any positive experiences to share?”, asks Brian in a recent post. Well, I have – except it’s not in the UK. Harvard University Library in the USA have recently put Harvard WAX (the Web Archive Collection Service) live, after a pilot project which began in July 2006.

Harvard WAX includes themed collections on Women’s Voices and Constitutional Revision in Japan, but of particular interest to us in PoWR is their A-Sites collection: the semi-annual captures of selected Harvard websites. “The Harvard University Archives is charged with collecting and preserving the historical records of the University,” state the curators, recognising their formal archival function in this regard. “Much of the information collected for centuries in paper form now resides on University web sites.”

Helen Hockx-Yu of the British Library met with the WAX team in May 2009. “I was impressed with many of the features of the system,” she said, “not just the user and web curator interfaces but also some of the architectural decisions. WAX is a service offered by the Library to all Harvard departments and colleges. In exchange for a fee, the Departments use the system to build their collections. The academics may not be involved with the actual crawling of websites, but spend time QAing and curating the websites, and can to some extent decide how the archive targets appear in the Access Tool. The QAed sites are submitted directly into Harvard’s institutional repository.”

It is very encouraging to read of this participatory dimension to the project, indicating how success depends on the active involvement of the creators of the resources. Already 48 Harvard websites have been put into the collection, representing Departments, Committees, Schools, Libraries, Museums, and educational programmes.

The delivery of the resources has many good features also; there’s an unobtrusive header element which lets the user know they’re looking at an archived instance (instead of the live website). There’s a link explaining why the site was added to the collection, and contextual information about the wider collection. Another useful link allows researchers, scholars and other users to cite the resource; it’s good to see this automated feature integrated directly within the site. The Terms of Use page addresses a lot of current concerns about republishing web resources, and strikes just the right balance between protecting the interests of Harvard and providing a service to its users. Like a good OAIS-compliant repository, they are perfectly clear about who their designated user community are.

Best of all, they provide a working full-text search engine for the entire collection, something that many other web archive collections have been struggling to achieve.

The collection is tightly scoped, and takes account of ongoing developments for born-digital materials: “Collection managers, working in the online environment, must continue to acquire the content that they have always collected physically. With blogs supplanting diaries, e-mail supplanting traditional correspondence, and HTML materials supplanting many forms of print collateral, collection managers have grown increasingly concerned about potential gaps in the documentation of our cultural heritage.” The project has clear ownership (it is supported by the University Library’s central infrastructure), and it built its way up from a pilot project in less than three years. Their success was partially due to having a clear brief from the outset, and through collaboration with three University partners. What Harvard have done chimes in with many of the recommendations and suggestions made in the PoWR Handbook, particularly Chapters 5 (Selection), 16 (Responsibility for preservation of web resources) and 19 (How can you effect change?)

There are many aspects of this project which UK Institutions could observe, and perhaps learn something from. It shows that it is both possible and practical to embed website collection and preservation within an Institution.

Posted in Policies, Preservation, Records management, Resources, Selection | 1 Comment »

Set a blog to catch a blog…

Posted by Richard M. Davis on 23rd March 2009

Much discussion of blog preservation focuses on how to preserve the blogness of blogs: how can we make a web archive store, manage and deliver preserved blogs in a way that is faithful to the original?

Nesting...

Since it is blogging applications that provide this stucture and behaviour (usually from simple database tables of Posts, Comments, Users, etc), perhaps we should consider making blogging software behave more like an archive. How difficult would that be? Do we need to hire a developer?

One interesting thing about WordPress is the number of uses its simple blog model has been put to. Under-the-hood it is based on a remarkably simple data base schema of about 10 tables and a suite of PHP scripts, functions and libraries that provide the interface to that data. Its huge user-base has contributed a wide variety of themes and additional functions. It can be turned into a Twitter-like microblog (P2 and Prologue) or a fully-fledged social network (WordPress MU, Buddypress).

Another possibility exploited by a 3rd-party plugin is that of using WordPress as an aggregating blog, collecting posts automatically via RSS from other blogs: this seems like a promising basis for starting to develop an archive of blogs, in a blog.

The plugin in question is called FeedWordPress. It uses the Links feature of WordPress as the basis of a list of feeds which it checks regularly, importing new content when it finds it, as Posts within WordPress.

I installed FeedWordPress a while ago on ULCC’s DA Blog, and set it up to import all of the ULCC-contributed posts to JISC-PoWR, i.e. those by Ed Pinsent, Kevin Ashley and myself. I did this because I felt that these contributions warrant being part of ULCC’s insitutional record of its activities, and that DA Blog was the best to place to address this, as things stand.

JISC-PoWR also runs on WordPress, therefore I knew that, thanks to WordPress’s REST-like interface and Cool URIs, it is easy not only to select an individual author’s posts (/author/kevinashley) but also the RSS feed thereof (/author/kevinashley/feed). This, for each of the three author accounts, was all I needed to start setting up FeedWordPress in DA Blog to take an automatic copy each time any of us contributed to JISC-PoWR.The “author” on the original post has been mapped to an author in DA Blog, so posts are automatically (and correctly) attributed. The import also preserves, in custom fields, a considerable amount of contextual information about the posts in their original location.

In many cases, I’ve kept the imported post private in DA Blog. “Introductory” posts for the JISC-PoWR project blog, for example: as editor of DA Blog, I didn’t feel we needed to trouble our readers there with them; nevertheless they are stored in the blog database, as part of “the record” of our activities.

This is, admittedly, a very small-scale test of this approach, but the kind of system I’ve described is unquestionably a rudimentary blog archive, that can be set up relatively easily using WordPress and FeedWordPress – no coding necessary. Content is then searchable, sortable, exportable (SQL, RSS, etc). (Note, by the way, what happens when you use the Search box on the JISC-PoWR blog copy in UKWAC: this won’t happen with this approach!)

For organisations with many staff blogging on diverse public platforms this would be one approach to ensuring that these activities are recorded and preserved. UKOLN, for example, manages its own blog farm, while Brian and Marieke have blogs at WordPress.com (as well as contributing to this one), and Paul Walk appears to manage his own blog and web space. This kind of arrangement is not uncommon, nor the problem of how an institution get a grasp on material in all these different locations (it’s been at the heart of many JISC-PoWR workshop discussions). A single, central, self-hosted, aggregating blog, automatically harvesting the news feeds of all these blogs, might be a low-cost, quick-start approach to securing data in The Cloud, and safeguarding the corporate memory.

There are more issues to address. What of comments or embedded images? Can it handle Twitter tweets as well as blog posts? Does it scale? What of look-and-feel, individual themes, etc? Now we start needing some more robust tests and decisions, maybe even a developer or two to build a dedicated suite of “ArchivePress” plugins. But thanks to the power and Open-ness of  WordPress, and the endless creativity of its many users, we have a promising and viable short-term solution, and a compelling place to start further exploration.

Posted in Preservation, Software, Web 2.0 | 4 Comments »

Who Should Preserve The Web?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 16th March 2009

Members of the JISC PoWR Team will be participating at next week’s JISC conference, which takes place in Edinburgh on 24th March 2009.

In the session, entitled “Who should preserve the web?” a panel will

“Outline the key issues with archiving and preserving the web and will describe practical ways of approaching these issues. Looking at the international picture and the role of major consortia working in this area, the session will also offer practical advice from the JISC Preservation of Web Resources (PoWR) project on the institutional benefits of preserving web resources, what tools and processes are needed, and how a records management approach may be appropriate.”

If you are attending the conference we hope you will attend the session and participate in the discussions. If you are attending one of the other parallel sessions you can meet the UKOLN members of the  JISC PoWR team at the UKOLN staff. And if you haven’t bookeda place at the conference (which is now fully subscribed) feel free to participate in the discussions on the online forum.

Posted in Events, Preservation, Web 1.0, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

Wiki Management

Posted by Ed Pinsent on 16th January 2009

This contribution to a thread about management of wikis, posted by the Records management section at the University of Edinburgh, was submitted to the Archive listerv recently:

Below is an outline of the ‘wiki’ situation at the University of Edinburgh:

At Edinburgh University our main effort to date has been making sure that wikis are retention scheduled, and considering what the ideal retention period for a wiki should be. As part of setting up any new wiki space the University records details such as space owner and proposed use, but due to the wide variety of uses it is difficult to specify a generic retention period. There is the option for the space owner to delete a wiki space; however the most likely scenario is that a space atrophies over time, the owner stops engaging, and it is therefore then up to the University to be proactive in identifying and pruning out dead spaces.

At present the service policy talks about a default retention period of 1 year, which is primarily to make space owners aware that if not used their space may be deleted. If we have anything that requires long term migration we would look into outward migration; either to a new system or to an archive.

I found it very encouraging to see this pro-active and practical-minded approach to the management of wikis. In many ways Edinburgh’s RM approach vindicates a lot of the RM advice which we have recommended in the PoWR Handbook; as we say early on, we must manage resources in order to preserve them. It is also encouraging that in Edinburgh’s case at least the wiki problem is considered primarily in terms of information and staff management, and not exclusively in terms of the technological solutions that might be applied.

In particular:

1) Edinburgh: “Make sure wikis are retention scheduled”.

  • PoWR: “Deciding which aspects of your web resources to capture can be informed to a large extent by your Institutional drivers, and the agreed policies for retention and preservation.”  (p 22)

2) Edinburgh: “Consider the ideal retention period for a wiki”.

  • PoWR: “The attraction of bringing a website in line with an established retention and disposal programme is that it will work to defined business rules and retention schedules to enable the efficient destruction of materials, and also enable the protection and maintenance of records that need to be kept for business reasons.”  (p 93)

3) Edinburgh: “Make space owners aware that if not used their space may be deleted”.

  • PoWR: “Quite often in an academic context these applications rely on the individual to create and manage their own resources. A likely scenario is that the academic, staff member or student creates and manages his or her own external accounts in Flickr, Slideshare or WordPress.com; but they are not Institutional accounts. It is thus possible with Web 2.0 application for academics to conduct a significant amount of Institutional business outside of any known Institution network. The Institution either doesn’t know this activity is taking place, or ownership of the resources is not recognised officially. In such a scenario, it is likely the resources are at risk.”  (p 42)

4) Edinburgh: “The service policy talks about a default retention period.” This approach seems to incorporate rules as part of setting up any new wiki space, starting to manage the resource at the very beginning of the record’s lifecyle.

  • PoWR: “If  we can apply a lifecycle model to web resources, they will be created, managed, stored and disposed of in a more efficient and consistent way; it can assist with the process of identifying what should and should not be retained, and why; and that in turn will help with making preservation decisions.” (p 34)

5) Edinburgh: “If we have anything that requires long term migration we would look into outward migration; either to a new system or to an archive.”

  • PoWR: “Migration of resources is a form of preservation. Migration means moving resources from one operating system to another, or from one storage/management system to another. This may raise questions about emulation and performance. Can the resource be successfully extracted from its old system, and behave in an acceptable way in the new system?”  (p 33)
  • “The usual aim of archival appraisal has been to identify and select records for permanent preservation. Quite often appraisal has taken place at the very end of the lifecycle process (although records managers intervene where possible at the beginning of the process, enabling records of importance to be identified early).”  (p 36)

Posted in Case studies, Policies, Preservation, Records management, Selection | No Comments »

JISC Advisory Services to be Closed – But Don’t Panic!

Posted by Brian Kelly on 15th January 2009

A message sent to the JISC infoNet  JISCMail (and other) lists back in November described significant changes to the structure of the JISC Advisory Services:

 JISC and the Advisory Services have been looking at ways to be more agile and flexible to respond to the changing needs and demands of thefurther and higher education communities. The outcome of this review is to create a new company called JISC Services.

JISC infoNet, JISC Legal, JISC TechDis, Netskills, Procureweb and TASI are coming together to create JISC Services which will formally come into existence on 1 August 2009.

The aim of the new company is to create a more flexible and comprehensive source of advice, with increased opportunities for addressing new and changing needs across the community. This change is designed to ensure that our services continue to offer the internationally acclaimed advice for which they are renowned. Putting the further and higher education communities at the centre of what we do will be strengthened by working together as one company to deliver expertise and advice.

You will still be able to access all of the services you currently value via the usual channels and over the next few months the services will increasingly join together at events, on projects and in producing resources.

Find out more about the JISC Services at: http://www.jisc-services.ac.uk

I recently wrote about the closure of organisations and best practices for preserving the resources hosted on the organisational Web sites. This case is rather different – rather than closing down organisations JISC is building on the strengths of the advisory services and seeking to provide benefits to the user community by providing a more seamless interface (and remember, if the advisory services were regarding as failing to deliver a valuable service we might have expected the organisational changes to have provied an opportunity to close any lame ducks).

The challenge, from the perspective of Web site preservation, is to try to ensure that valuable resources are not lost in the merger process.  I feel that this change could provide valuable lessons for the wider community – the JISC Advisory Services, after all, won;t be the last organisations to be reorganised! And let’s hope that the lessons are based on a successful migration of the Web resources, and not lessons on what can go wrong!

Posted in Preservation, Web 1.0 | 3 Comments »

More on iPres2008

Posted by Kevin Ashley on 8th October 2008

Brian and Marieke have already written about iPres2008 and PoWR, and I have written and will write more about it from a general perspective on DABlog. But we thought it would be worth saying a bit more about what this conference, which is looking at the complete picture of digital preservation, had to say which is of relevance to PoWR’s work of web preservation in UK Universities.

There was an entire session devoted to various web archiving initiatives on the second day, which at first sight one might think is of particular relevance (almost as much as Brian’s presentation, one might think.) I wasn’t at this session – it was one of those running in parallel tracks, and I was speaking in the other track – but Ed Pinsent was and will be writing at more length about it soon. But even without attending, I’m aware that many of the projects, operating as they do within their national domains in Australia or elsewhere, won’t have much role in helping save UK University web content (unless we move our domains to .edu.au – there’s a thought.) Even when the BL realises its long-term aim of harvesting across the entire UK web domain, it still will be selective in some ways about what it captures – about depth and frequency of harvests, and about the type of content. You won’t be able to depend on those institutions to capture what you want to be captured. So if these initiatives aren’t going to meet all our needs, do we need to do it ourselves ? The PoWR project thinks not, but that is one of the options institutions will need to examine. The work the IIPC is doing to develop harvesting and access tools will be of interest to those few institutions that feel able to operate these tools themselves – not something to be undertaken lightly.

Yet there was much of relevance at iPres2008. One recurring them, picked up at the outset by Lynne Brindley and in Steve Knight’s closing remarks, was that ‘digital preservation’ is not the term to be using in discussions with our institutions and the world, echoing remarks on the DCC blog which Brian later picked up on here. Steve prefers the phrase ‘permanent access’. which is indeed outcome-focussed. However, we’ve also said in PoWR that preservation isn’t always forever, so I would prefer something a little more all-embracing – ‘long-lived access’ might fit.

The sessions covering things like significant properties also touched on issues that PoWR is concerned with. When we decide to preserve something, what is it that we’re really trying to keep ? Most forms of preservation change the original object in some way, just as long-life milk isn’t the same as pasteurised, and neither are quite as tasty as fresh milk (or so I’ve been told.) This is clearly still a very difficult problem, and one that (to my mind) demonstrates that the digital preservation community hasn’t even developed a clear problem statement, much less a fully worked-out solution. So, in the meantime, we need to be pragmatic and do what seems best at the time. Always a good plan.

Posted in Digital preservation, Events, Preservation, Selection, Technologies | No Comments »

5 Reasons Why You Should Do Web Preservation

Posted by Marieke Guy on 18th August 2008

For those who still need to convince their senior management here are five reasons why you should embed Web preservation strategies within your institution:

1. You need to protect your institution
University Web sites contain evidence of institutional activity which is not recorded elsewhere and may be lost if the Web site is not archived or regular snapshots are taken. If you do not record certain information you are in danger of failing to comply with legal acts such as FOI and DPA, you may be breaking contractual and auditing obligations and put your institution at risk. This risk management approach has been taken to countless other digital resources (for example email – Curation of emails), it is only a matter of time before it is a standard approach to Web sites.

2. Starting a Web preservation programme will make you look like a ‘forward thinking’ university
You could be one of the first to start an official ‘Web preservation’ programme which will be great marketing fodder. (Remember the first UK Universities to offer blogs to students (Warwick), launch a YouTube channel and offer downloadable lectures using iTunes (University College London)? How about the first to get sued by a student for changing the course specification and having no record of the previous entry? Universities have already been sued over Web site accessibility, copyright of material on their site and allowing plagarism to take place.) Embedding Web preservation strategies will also help you think about the continuity of resources, dead links etc.

3. It could save you money
Web resources cost money to create and failing to repurpose and reuse them will waste money. Although Web preservation may have an initial cost, once the process has begun the savings can be great. Having a good strategy in place (which also should include selection and deletion where appropriate) will save both money and energy in the long run. Brian Kelly’s recent UK Web Focus Blog post on the environmental issues involved in digital preservation touches on this. As Owen Steven suggests in his comment it may make sense to link digital preservation to commercialism.

4. You have a responsibility to the people who use your resources
Students and staff may make serious choices based on Web site information and you have a responsibility to make sure a record is kept of this information.

5. You have a responsibility to the people who may need to use your resources in the future
Many of resources your institution publishes are unique and deleting them may mean that invaluable scholarly, cultural and scientific resources (heritage records) will be unavailable to future generations.


These reasons should give your senior management food for thought. These drivers and others will be expanded on in the JISC-PoWR handbook.

You can find out more on how to get started on a Web Preservation strategy by attending our upcoming workshop on Embedding Web Preservation Strategies Within Your Institution.

Posted in Preservation | 1 Comment »

Heritage Records and the Changing Filter through which we View our World

Posted by Marieke Guy on 11th August 2008

At both of the JISC-PoWR workshops delegates have been keen for the project team to spell out the reasons why institutions might want to preserve Web resources. These ‘drivers’ then give fuel to their case for the funds needed to archive the institutional Web site.

The idea of ‘heritage records’ is one that is often mentioned. Using Web sites as a ‘cultural snap shot’ has the potential to be a highly useful activity.

In his interesting and functional text Managing the Crowd: Rethinking Records Management for the Web 2.0 World Steve Bailey puts forward the point that deciding what will be important in the future is a tricky business. As he explains in the section on appraisal, retention and destruction: “The passage of time inevitably changes the filter through which we view our world and assess its priorities.”

Steve gives the example of the current plethora of Web sites that offer what we might call ‘quack’ remedies for medical problems. These sites may not seem to be of great interest right now but they may be invaluable to future historians who wish to demonstrate the distrust of the medical profession exhibited in 21st century western culture.

James Curral in his recent plenary talk at the recent Institutional Web Management Workshop used the example of blog posts made by soldiers out in Iraq and Afghanistan to demonstrate the irony of modern technology; these highly informative records could easily be lost while the diaries of World War II soldiers remain accessible.

Preservation mistakes have been made aplenty in the past. The destruction of much of the BBC’s flagship programmes in the 1970s has been well documented and in 2001 the BBC launched a a treasure hunt campaign to locate recordings of pre-1980 television or radio programmes. Ironically the Web site is no longer being updated, though it is still hosted on the BBc server.

So who can know what the future will bring? Which Web resources will we wish we had kept? Which student blog writer will go on to be a future prime minister or an infamous criminal? What bit of the terrabytes is the most important?

As Steve Bailey points out there is no crystal ball. It has always has been, and always will be, very difficult to predict what resources may prove to be valuable to future generations.

Although this offers little recompense for those making these choices, it does at least argue the case that we do need to preserve and we need to do so soon.

Posted in Challenges, Preservation, Records management, Web 1.0 | 2 Comments »

Seeing Eye to Eye: Web Managers and Records Managers

Posted by Marieke Guy on 25th June 2008

The technological and cultural changes brought about by the advancement of the Web have, on numerous occasions, required co-ordinated interdisciplinary work. 0ne of the intended aims of the JISC-PoWR project is to help to bring together the differing perspectives of information professionals such records managers and Web managers in the context of the preservation of Web resource – and there are probably at least four sets of expertise involved: Web content creation (as perceived by Web authors), Web content management from a technical perspective (as perceived by those who choose or configure the underlying software), records and/or information management and digital preservation. So there’s the bringing together of intellectual perspectives: (What content needs to be preserved? How long for? Who is responsible?) and there’s the technical perspectives, assuming that the above questions come up with anything that needs preserving (How do we do it ? Are site-level tools more appropriate than national services? Does CMS X make preservation easier or harder than CMS Y? Is a more accessible site also a more preservable one? Are there configuration choices that affect preservation without (significantly) affecting other aspects of management?)

Within the JISC-PoWR team there have been a number of interesting discussions that have highlighted how differently the different players see Web preservation. To quote Ed Pinsent:

“The fundamental thing here is bringing together two sets of information professionals from differing backgrounds who, in many cases, don’t tend to speak to each other. Many records managers and archivists are, quite simply, afraid of IT and are content to let it remain a mystery. Conversely, it is quite possible to work in an IT career path in any organisation (not just HE/FE) and never be troubled by retention or preservation issues of any sort. “

The cliched view might regard Web managers as concerning themselves primarily with the day to day running of an organisation’s Web site, with preservation as an afterthought, and records managers focussing mainly on the preservation of resources and failing to understand some of the technical challenges presented. And although this may be a superficial description of the complexitities of they ways in which institutions go about the management of the digital resources, perhaps like many cliches, there could be an element of truth in such views.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Challenges, Preservation, Records management, Web 1.0 | 2 Comments »

Web Continuity Project at The National Archives

Posted by Richard M. Davis on 11th June 2008

Ed and I were pleased to come across an interesting document, recently received from The National Archives, describing their Web Continuity Project. This is the latest of the many digital preservation initiatives undertaken by TNA/PRO, that began with EROS and NDAD in the mid 1990s, leading to the UK Government Web Archive and other recent digital preservation initiatives (many in conjunction with BL and the JISC).

The Web Continuity Project arises from a request by Jack Straw, as leader of the House of Commons in 2007, that government departments ensure continued access to online documents. Further research revealed that:

  • Government departments are increasingly citing URLs in answer to Parliamentary Questions
  • 60% of links in Hansard to UK government websites for the period 1997 to 2006 are now broken
  • Departments vary considerably: for one, every link works; for another every link is broken. (TNA’s own website is not immune!)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Digital preservation, Policies, Preservation | No Comments »

Whose Responsibility is Web Resource Preservation?

Posted by Marieke Guy on 6th June 2008

It is possible that one of the reason why so little is being done about Web resource preservation is that everybody feels it is somebody else’s responsibility. It might be very easy for us all to avoid the issue by standing back and waiting for someone else to tackle what, we have already explained, is a very complex problem. However taking this approach may mean that nobody does anything and we all lose out.

So whose responsibility is Web resource preservation then?

There are a number of parties who may have an interest in the preservation of Web resource. These range from the international institutions down to the individual.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Digital preservation, Preservation, Web 1.0 | 4 Comments »