Category Archives: Project news

Goodbye from the JISC PoWR blog

From today we don’t intend to provide any more significant posts on the JISC PoWR blog and will be closing comments. The blog will remain here as a resource for you to use but it is now officially frozen.

An Archived blog page is now available giving further information on the archiving of the blog. It includes blog statistics for future reference.

The JISC PoWR team would like to say thank you to all our readers. Most of the team members are involved in new digital/Web preservation work so this won’t be the last you hear from us!

Cessation of posts to the JISC PoWR blog

Following the successful completion of the JISC PoWR  project we continued to publish occasional posts on this blog related to the preservation of Web sites. We have also recently published a new handbook on the preservation of Web resources which we have announced on this blog.

It is now therefore timely to officially announce that we do not intend to publish any new posts on the blog after a couple of post which provide a summary of how this blog was used.  A week or so after the final posts have been published we will switch off comments on the blog – so that we will no longer have to spend time in checking for spam comments.

The blog itself, and all posts and comments, will remain available for the indefinite future – by which we mean that we will seek to provide access for a period of at least 3 years from now.

The summary posts we intend to provide will contain details about the blog such as:

  • Number of posts and comments
  • Details of contributors
  • Details of blog theme and plugins used
  • Details of type and version of software used

If you have any suggestions for any other information it would be useful to provide and record please do let us know.

We intend to use the closing of the blog as a case study which will be documented as part of the JISC Beginner’s Guide to Digital Preservation. The Beginner’s Guide will eventually be available online but the process of creating the guide is being documented in the JISC Beginner’s Guide to Digital Preservation blog.

A Guide to Web Preservation

The JISC PoWR team is pleased to announce the launch of A Guide to Web Preservation.

This Guide uses similar content to PoWR: The Preservation of Web Resources Handbook but in a way which provides a practical guide to web preservation, particularly for web and records managers. The chapters are set out in a logical sequence and answer the questions which might be raised when web preservation is being seriously considered by an institution. These are:

  • What is preservation?
  • What are web resources?
  • Why do I have to preserve them?
  • What is a web preservation programme?
  • How do I decide what to preserve?
  • How do I capture them?
  • Who should be involved?
  • What approaches should I take?
  • What policies need to be developed?

Each chapter concludes with a set of actions and one chapter lists the tasks which must be carried out, and the timings of these tasks, if an institution is to develop and maintain a web preservation programme. In addition points made in the Guide are illustrated with a number of case studies.

The guide was edited by Susan Farrell who has used her knowledge and expertise in the management of large-scale institutional Web services in writing the document.

The Guide can be downloaded (in PDF format) from the JISC PoWR Web site. The Guide is also hosted on JISCPress service which provides a commenting and annotation capability. It has been published on the print-on-demand service where it can be bought for £2.82 plus postage and packing.

If you want to discuss the Guide on Twitter you should use the #jiscpowr tag.

Making any Upgrades to your Blog Sir?

This blog is hosted by JISC Involve who provide blogs for the JISC community.

Till recently JISC Involve was running on an old version of WordPress (1.2.5). Earlier this month the JISC Digital Communications Team upgraded their server to the latest version of WordPress (2.9.2) and then migrated all the JISC Involve’s blogs over to the new installation.

Although all blog posts, comments, attachments, user accounts, permissions and customisations were supposed to move over easily JISC Involve users were encouraged to back-up the content of drafts etc. ‘just in case’.

Unfortunately there were some technical problems migrating the content and as a consequence the original theme was lost and URLs now redirect.

Luckily the JISC PoWR team were able to locate the original theme and reinstall it.

However the process has made them aware of the need to record details of the technical components and architecture of the blog. This information can be critical in a migration process and when ‘closing down’ a blog.

The JISC PoWR team will ensure that such information is routinely recorded.

Is there any other information that is important for preservation or migration purposes?

Kevin Ashley new DCC Director

Earlier this week the Digital Curation centre announced the appointment of their new Director who will succeed Chris Rusbridge upon his retirement in April 2010. The role has been taken on by JISC PoWR’s very own Kevin Ashley.

kevin.jpgKevin has been Head of Digital Archives at the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC) since 1997, during which time his multi-disciplinary group has provided services related to the preservation and reusability of digital resources on behalf of other organisations, as well as conducting research, development and training.

The group has operated the National Digital Archive of Datasets for The National Archives of the UK for over twelve years, delivering customised digital repository services to a range of organisations.

As a member of the JISC’s Infrastructure and Resources Committee, the Advisory Council for ERPANET, plus several advisory boards for data and archives projects and services, Kevin has contributed widely to the research information community.

Kevin has been an active member of the JISC PoWR project and written many blog posts sharing his expertise.

The DCC has just begun its third phase of work makes the following comment on it’s Web site (A new phase, a new perspective, a new Director):

As a firm and trusted proponent of the DCC we look forward to his energetic leadership in this new phase of our evolution.

At JISC PoWR we offer Kevin our congratulations and wish him all the best in his new role.

Digital ‘Movage’

Kevin Kelly has coined the term ‘movage’ in a blog post published on 11 December 2008. Kevin argues that:

The only way to archive digital information is to keep it moving. I call this movage instead of storage. Proper movage means transferring the material to current platforms on a regular basis — that is, before the old platform completely dies, and it becomes hard to do.

The reasons for this are the continual changes in the formats and degradation of the storage media. I think this relates to the ideas discussed previously on this blog about an emphasis on ongoing access to Web resources rather than the preservation of such resources. In the case of Web resources the need tends to arise from changes in the technologies used to deliver the Web services rather than the formats themselves.

But whether a new term needs to be created is questionable – after all, Kevin Kelly is simply describing the well-established concept of migration of formats. As described in a glossary entry on the DCC Web site:

Migration: A means of overcoming technical obsolescence by transferring digital resources from one hardware/software generation to the next. The purpose of migration is to preserve the intellectual content of digital objects and to retain the ability for clients to retrieve, display, and otherwise use them in the face of constantly changing technology.

Despite this reservation I still think it’s good to see a slightly different variant on the ideas which have been discussed on this blog reaching a new community.

Looking Back … and Looking Foward

A news item entitled Preserving web resources – new advisory handbook published on the 9th December 2008 on the JISC Web site Neil Grindley, manager of JISC’s Digital Preservation programme, described how “the JISC PoWR handbook helps institutions to identify where material of interest might exist, which elements may require long-term access and how these decisions can link into wider institutional policies“.

Neil went on to add that “The PoWR handbook recognises that preservation is not an end in itself, but that it can complement an institution’s mission, whether that be improving the quality of research, conforming with national policy or avoiding the threat of legal action. It will evolve following the practical experience of its use to ensure it remains at the forefront of best practice advice for web preservation issues“.

The JISC PoWR project has been formally completed – but the interests of the project team (UKOLN and ULCC) in the area of preservation continues. We have agreed that we will continue to publish posts on this blog which are relevant to the area of the preservation of Web resources for a period of time- we will seek to publish at least 3 posts per month. Around Easter time we will review the status of this blog. As well as posts from members of the JISC PoWR project team we would also welcome guest blog posts from the community. So if you would like to write something about your interests in the area of Web site preservation please contact Marieke Guy (email

But for now on behalf of the JISC PoWR team I’d like to wish everyone a happy and enjoyable Christmas.

Handbook v 1.0 released

Version 1.0 of the PoWR Handbook is published and released today. The Handbook has been one of the main deliverables of the JISC PoWR project, but there is no doubt that this blog itself has constituted a rich and varied source of discussion and information. (As such perhaps the blog itself should be nominated for archiving). Indeed, some of the blog discussions here have been refitted and turned into case studies and scenarios in the Handbook, as they touch on many important issues.

Version 1.0 is not substantially different from Version 0.3, released last month, but we have taken some recent feedback comments into account, added a useful and comprehensive Index to the Handbook, and made corrections arising from the proof-reading stage.

In the spirit of showing our commitment to the management of Web 2.0- type resources, we are also making the Handbook available on issuu and Scribd.

PoWR Handbook: early draft


Attached is an early draft of the PoWR Handbook. This release is timed to coincide with our third and final workshop in Manchester.  We hope to gather feedback from that workshop, and from any comments received via this blog, to feed into the final version of the Handbook.

You can also browse an version of the Report here.

Comments can also be sent direct to Ed Pinsent, if you would prefer not to comment here.

Workshop 1 – Resources available

The first JISC-PoWR workshop took place last Friday (27th June 2008) at Senate House Library and was attended by over 30 people from a wide range of professional groupings, including the Web management and Records Management communities. The day instigated much discussion and started people thinking about how they could make a start on Web resource preservation at their institution.

The main presentations are now available for download.

  • Presentation 1: JISC-PoWR Workshop 1, Marieke Guy, UKOLN. Presentation: [Slideshare] – [pres1.ppt PowerPoint file]
  • Presentation 2: Preservation of Web Resources Part I, Kevin Ashley, ULCC. Presentation: [Slideshare] – [pres2.ppt PowerPoint file] (audio – pres2.mp3)
  • Presentation 3: Challenges for Web Resource Preservation, Marieke Guy, UKOLN Presentation: [Slideshare] – [pres3.ppt] (audio – pres3.mp3)
  • Presentation 4: Bath University Case Study, Alison Wildish and Lizzie Richmond, University of Bath. Presentation: [Slideshare] – [pres4.ppt PowerPoint file] .
  • Presentation 5: Legal issues, Jordan Hatcher, opencontentlawyer. Presentation: [Slideshare] – [pres5.ppt PowerPoint file] (audio – pres5.mp3)
  • Presentation 6: Preservation of Web Resources Part II, Ed Pinsent, ULCC. Presentation: [Slideshare] – [ pres6.ppt PowerPoint file] (audio – pres6.mp3)
  • Preservation 7: ReStore: A sustainable web resources repository, Arshad Khan, National Centre for Research Methods. Presentation: [Slideshare] – [pres7.ppt Powerpoint file]. Audio: [pres7.mp3]

The presentations are also available from Slideshare. Audio files are available from the Internet Archive.

We are also using a Wetpaint Wiki to collate the feedback from the workshop breakout sessions. If you were there, please have a look and help us ensure that your suggestions are represented.

An ‘at the event’ report written on the workshop by Stephen Emmott has been published in the Ariadne Web Magazine.

Introduction: Kevin Ashley

Kevin Ashley mugshot Hello. I’m Kevin Ashley, manager of the Digital Archives Department (DAD) at ULCC since its establishment in 1997 (the department, not ULCC.) During that time, DAD has set up and run the NDAD service for The National Archives, preserved digital material for the British Library (before handing it back to them to put in their shiny new Digital Object Management system), collaborated with Cornell and the DPC to produce the Digital Preservation Training Programme in the UK, and many other activities.

I’m currently chair of JISC’s Repositories and Preservation Advisory Group, and ULCC’s representative on the DPC board. My proudest achievement is the creation (with my quondam colleague Martin Powell) of a founder member in the Useless Web Pages Hall of Fame: the ULCC web telephone dialler – often imitated but never, IMHO, bettered. Unfortunately, both the dialler itself and the Hall of Fame are no longer with us on the web, and those links both depend on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. For that reason, and many others, I’m particularly interested in the success of PoWR.

Web Resource Preservation Case Studies

The JISC-PoWR project would like to publish a number of case studies highlighting best practice regarding Web resource preservation.

Has your institution has recently deployed a Web resource preservation strategy or embarked on Web resource preservation work? Would you be willing to share your experiences and discuss solutions to problem areas by submitting a brief case study? If so then please contact Marieke Guy.

Further details are available on the suggested format for case studies.

A User-Focussed Project

When myself (Brian Kelly, UKOLN) and Kevin Ashley (ULCC) initially discussed submitting a joint proposal fore the JISC ITT on Web Site Preservation one of the topics we spoke about was how we perceived our approaches to the work. We discovered that we were in strong agreement on the need for a user-focussed approach to the preservation of Web sites and Web resources, rather than one based on simply promoting a particular ideological stance.

So although we will discuss, say, the benefits of use of open standards in a preservation context, we do acknowledge that simply saying that institutions must use open standards would be an over-simplistic approach. We recognise that the provision of Web-based services is a complex operation requiring many, and sometimes conflicting, goals.

We will seek to advise institutions on how they should address the preservation of Web sites and Web resources in a real-world context of conflicting demands, limited resources, institutional politics and existing services to run.

And we are very keen on hearing from institutions in the sector (and the wider community) on the approaches institutions are taken to managing medium and long-term access to their Web resources.

Introduction: Richard Davis

MeHi, I’m Richard, an IT specialist since 1985. I’ve worked at ULCC since 1997 on a variety of web-based digital archives and repository systems. Recent projects include Linnean Online (an Eprints-powered archive of Linnaeus’s specimens), SAS-Space (DSpace IR for the School of Advanced Study) and NDAD (ten year-old dataset archive for the National Archives). Among the JISC repositories/preservation projects that I’ve been involved with are the Significant Properties studies, PRIMO (for the Institute of Musical Research) and SNEEP (Social Networking Extensions for Eprints). I’m also studying, part-time, on the MSc E-learning course at Edinburgh University, and I’m particularly interested in how blogs, wikis, social networks, and the like, are being used in education and research (Library 2.0, Classroom 2.0, etc).

Introduction: Jordan Hatcher

Jordan Hatcher profile picI’m Jordan Hatcher, and I’m a legal consultant on a variety of issues with a specialism in intellectual property and internet and media law issues. I’ve focussed quite a bit of my work on the area of open licensing, including on data, content, and software. Over this past year, for example, I’ve helped develop a set of open data licences at Open Data Commons, led a study funded by Eduserv on open content licences in the UK cultural heritage sector, and done a variety of legal consulting on areas such as data protection, trade mark, copyright and international IP. In all of my work I try to advocate a practical approach to the law, which often means looking at risk management rather than total risk avoidance. As we progress, I’ll be writing more about this approach and some of the legal issues involved in web preservation. If you’d like more info on me and my activities, please check out my site,

Brian Kelly – An Introduction

Portrait Of Brian KellyI am the project director manager for the JISC-PoWR project. My interest in Web site preservation dates back several years and I have given a number of talks on this topics.

A particular area of interest to me is what preservation means in a Web 2.0 environment in which organisations may be making use of third party Web sites. I will be writing posts on this topic, and would very much welcome feedback from institutions who have given thought to best practices in this area.

Web Resource Preservation: No One Ever Said It Would Be Easy….

If it was we’d all be at it!!

Any records manager or archivist will probably be able to give you half a dozen reasons for why digital preservation is very important. Some might well give you half a dozen more for why the preservation of Web resources in particular, which now play such a huge part in our daily lives, is very very important.

Unfortunately this critical activity isn’t easy. In fact the very nature of the Web means that the preservation and archiving of Web resources is actually a very complex task. A few of the major issues include:

  • The transient and dynamic nature of the Web – The Web is growing at a rapid rate. The average Web resource’s lifespan is short and pages are often removed. On the Web publishing is an easy process and content may be changed often and not necessarily in an orderly way. Metadata is very much an afterthought. Web 2.0 content (comprising of data mash ups, blog entries, comments etc.) is even more dynamic.
  • Selection issues – Of the billions of resources out there which and which instantiation of them should we preserve?
  • The technologies involved – The Web is dependant on technology, it uses various file formats and follows many protocols, most of which evolve quickly. The look and feel of a Web page may be determined by a number of different elements such as the code, the http protocol, the user, the browser and the server. Which of these need to be preserved? Web resources are usually held on just one server, so are at greater risk of removal, yet for some resources countless copies are made. Again which do we preserve? Web sites are held together by hypertext links meaning parts of the site could be omitted (if for example they use a robots.txt file or pages are not actually linked to) if crawled by archiving software. Whole areas of the Web are held in problematical CMS or behind authentication systems and Web 2.0 applications use layered APIs, which use data in many different ways.
  • Organisational issues – How is your institution using its Web site? Is it a publication or is it a record? Is the content being managed? Who is responsible and who has ownership?
  • The legal issues – There are many IPR and data protection issues with Web content. Who owns the photos on Flickr, the comments on a blog or the details on a social networking site?

There is no easy answer! However despite the difficulties of Web preservation some institutions may be addressing some of these issues already. We are keen to hear examples of any approaches being taken.

Introduction: Ed Pinsent

ed.jpg Ed Pinsent has been doing website archiving and collection management since 2004, funded by the JISC to capture snapshot impressions of JISC project websites which are otherwise in danger of disappearing. The snapshots are currently stored and managed by the UK Web Archiving Consortium. Ed comes from a background of traditional archival curation (understanding of the importance of preservation, context, structured information, user needs); and records management (pro-active maintenance and protection of important assets and resources). Currently a member of the Digital Preservation team at the University of London Computer Centre.

Introduction: Marieke Guy

Marieke GuyI’m Marieke Guy and I will be working on the The Preservation of Web Resources project (JISC-PoWR). I am a Research Officer at UKOLN, a centre of excellence in digital information management, providing advice and services to the library, information and cultural heritage communities. More information about me is available from my staff page.

Project Team Launch Meeting

Project team at the launch meeting on 1 May 2008The first meeting of the project team was held at the University of Bath on Thursday 1st May 2008. The project team is shown in the accompanying photograph.

The team members are, from left to right, Ed Pinsent (ULCC), Jordan Hatcher (consultant), Marieke Guy (UKOLN), Kevin Ashley (ULCC), Richard Davis (ULCC) and Brian Kelly (UKOLN).

Marieke Guy (UKOLN) and Ed Pinsent and Richard Davis (ULCC) will be the main project workers, with Jordan Hatcher providing input into the IPR aspects associated with Web site preservation and myself and Kevin Ashley providing project management and strategic input.

The project team members will shortly be providing their introductions.