Future in Bits

The BBC News Web site has published an interesting article entitled Future in Bits asking how can the ever-changing Web be archived bearing in mind the dilema of the malleable nature of digital information.

The article draws attention to the fact that no UK-based commercial online newspapers are currently being archived.

David Stuart, a research fellow in Web 2.0 Technologies at the University of Wolverhampton is quoted as saying:

The lack of an exhaustive archive of the UK web space not only risks the loss of information on web pages that are changed or taken down,” he said. “It also undermines the value of pages that link to them; the value of the web comes as much from the hyperlinks between pages as the contents of the web pages. This is especially true in the blogosphere, where so much of the content created by the public is built upon the foundations of traditional news stories

Jessie Owen, digital continuity project manager at the National Archives explains that the key to archiving is preparation.

This is something the JISC PoWR handbook can offer help with.

1 thought on “Future in Bits

  1. Richard M. Davis

    Good find, Marieke. Not a lot new there for us, of course, but raises awareness. Shame JISC-PoWR doesn’t get a mention, though if readers find their way to the latest DPC newsletter they may end up here!

    My understanding of the article is that “no UK-based commercial online newspapers are currently being archived” by BL or UKWAC. No doubt the publishers manage archives of their own – it would be interesting to know what procedures and models they follow. Perhaps this is an example of where public archiving efforts should focus on APIs to those databases rather than (or as well as) the eventual web rendering.

    In the case of the Ronnie Hazlehurst hoax, kudos to the Guardian for doing the right thing and flagging the correction. And to Wikipedia for having an auditable trail of edits. The discussion about whether the Hazlehurst “fact” was substantiated because it appeared in “reputable” sources, which themselves had sourced it from Wikipedia (without attribution) is particularly thought-provoking.

    Shame the BBC article doesn’t explain the BBC’s position on its editorial integrity in this and similar situations.

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