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.