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Preservation for the Next Generation


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Presentation given by Marieke Guy on "Preservation for the Next Generation" at the Internet Librarian International 2008 conference held at the Novotel London West, London on 16th October 2008.

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Preservation for the Next Generation

  1. 1. UKOLN is supported by: Preservation for the Next Generation Marieke Guy, UKOLN Internet Librarian International 16 th October 2008 Resources tagged with jisc-powr on Delicious
  2. 2. Digital Preservation… <ul><li>“ The most threatened documents in modern archives are usually not the oldest, but the newest.” </li></ul><ul><li>The Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why Web Sites? <ul><li>Recognised strategic importance of Web sites </li></ul><ul><li>To protect your institution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal reasons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Audit and authenticity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To be forward thinking </li></ul><ul><li>To save you money and embarrassment </li></ul><ul><li>Responsibility to staff and users </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Uniqueness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heritage </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The JISC PoWR Project <ul><li>JISC Preservation of Web Resources project </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on digital preservation issues of relevance to UK HE/FE Web management community </li></ul><ul><li>5 months (May – September 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>2 partners: UKOLN and ULCC + friendly lawyer </li></ul><ul><li>Identify, share and seek to embed best practices </li></ul><ul><li>3 Workshops: London, Aberdeen, Manchester </li></ul><ul><li>Key resources: briefing papers, case studies and handbook </li></ul><ul><li>Uses a blog as its user engagement and dissemination channel. See: <> </li></ul>
  5. 5. Concerns… <ul><li>Risks identified in joint UKOLN/ULCC’s submission for the JISC PoWR project: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutions wouldn’t be sufficiently interested in the preservation of Web resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The complexities (technical, policy, resourcing, legal, …) would be sufficient to de-motivate institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tensions between the priorities of the different interested parties </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Challenges… <ul><li>Low priority </li></ul><ul><li>Unsure on whose responsibility it is </li></ul><ul><li>Complicated – Web is big, transient, dynamic </li></ul><ul><li>Gap of understanding between different communities </li></ul><ul><li>What do we preserve? Selection decisions </li></ul><ul><li>What makes a Web site (bits or essence)? </li></ul><ul><li>Technical issues and dependencies </li></ul><ul><li>Legal issues </li></ul><ul><li>Is it worth preserving anyway? </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 </li></ul>
  7. 7. Feedback from First Workshop <ul><li>“ The challenges are significant, especially in terms of how to preserve Web resources….The workshop’s core message to practitioners was therefore to start building an internal network amongst relevant practitioners as advice and guidance emerge. </li></ul><ul><li>My thinking about this matter was certainly stimulated and I look forward to the next two workshops, and the handbook that will result. Web preservation is an issue which was always important but now grows increasingly urgent.” </li></ul>Preservation of Web Resources: Making a Start , Stephen Emmott, Ariadne (56) Jul 2008
  8. 8. Courtesy of Flickr Stereotypes…
  9. 9. Web Managers? <ul><li>Young Gen x, got pink hair and body piercings </li></ul><ul><li>Familiar with technology </li></ul><ul><li>Keen to create new things, like making mashups! </li></ul><ul><li>Good at dealing with expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Good communications skills </li></ul><ul><li>Interested in information, getting information out there </li></ul><ul><li>Want to be open… </li></ul><ul><li>Web presence gets bigger by the day </li></ul><ul><li>Tensions with IT services…won’t let them experiment </li></ul><ul><li>Not bothered about preservation </li></ul>
  10. 10. Records Managers? <ul><li>Pessimistic – deal with planning for the worst imaginable contingencies </li></ul><ul><li>Sensible approach, risk management approach </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible, good communication and negotiation skills </li></ul><ul><li>Comfort with new technologies? </li></ul><ul><li>Afraid of IT, content to let it remain a mystery </li></ul><ul><li>Set in their ways (Rethinking RM for Web 2.0 world – Bailey) </li></ul><ul><li>Want to be closed… </li></ul><ul><li>Like to define their work by record/information </li></ul><ul><li>Interested (primarily) in management of records, procedures, preservation (and destruction) of records </li></ul><ul><li>RMs are lower than librarians? – RMS Bulletin </li></ul>
  11. 11. What about Librarians? <ul><li>Do you have something to offer to Web resource preservation? </li></ul><ul><li>Quite the ones who end up doing the work </li></ul>
  12. 12. Web Specialist University Archivist, Records Manager and FOI Co-ordinator Lizzie Richmond Head of Web Services Alison Wildish <ul><li>Archivist </li></ul><ul><li>Background in collection cataloguing and archival administration and conservation </li></ul><ul><li>Paper environment </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible to the archives – keep them safe and accessible for the future </li></ul><ul><li>Web specialist </li></ul><ul><li>Background in information technology, web design and development, communication and marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Digital environment </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible to the user – keep things up to date and useful </li></ul>Acknowledgements to Wildish and Richmond: <>
  13. 13. Marieke Guy and Brian Kelly (UKOLN): We’re doing these workshops on Web Preservation and wondered if you’d be willing to give us a case study about the approach from the University of Bath… “ “ ”
  14. 14. University Archivist, Records Manager and FOI Co-ordinator Oh no… not this again! Why me? This sounds technical… I’m a paper person I have enough trouble trying to preserve hard copy records without having to worry about the web I can see the value in theory, but in practice it’s too huge I guess it might be a good idea, but no one much cares what I think I am interested though… Now and the past
  15. 15. Web Specialist Head of Web Services EEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKK!!! In all honesty it isn’t interesting to me… We struggle to keep the site current – never mind thinking about preserving the old stuff I am future watching… need to know what to bring in not how to keep hold of the past Why is it something I should think about now? I’m not really that interested Now and the future
  16. 16. 1953
  17. 17. 1960
  18. 18. 1970
  19. 19. 1985
  20. 20. 1991
  21. 21. 1994
  22. 22. 1999
  23. 23. 2001
  24. 24. 2004
  25. 25. 2008
  26. 26. The Web Equivalent <ul><li>So what is the Web equivalent of the printed prospectus? </li></ul><ul><li>Your Home page? </li></ul><ul><li>It is your institution’s anniversary and your director would like an example of how the institution’s Web site has developed since launch </li></ul><ul><li>Currently only anecdotal evidence/tacit knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CMS brought in, search added </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Changes in navigation, branding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility, language, content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactive elements, multimedia </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We can use the Internet Archive’s Way Back machine! </li></ul>
  27. 27. The University of Bath Home Page
  28. 29. Institutional Web Page History <ul><li>We captured screen images from the Internet Archive of the home page since 1997 </li></ul><ul><li>Used FireFox Piclens extension to produce an interactive gallery of the images </li></ul><ul><li>Created a video with commentary providing reflections on the changes to the home page </li></ul><ul><li>This allowed us to draw parallels with the real world example </li></ul><ul><li>Used as a scenario for first workshop (it’s the University’s anniversary) </li></ul><ul><li>To illustrate one approach – use of a third party service (Internet Archive) – issues? </li></ul><ul><li>To illustrate preservation of the user experience (as opposed to the underlying data) </li></ul>
  29. 30. What about Web 2.0? <ul><li>The JISC PoWR project explicitly sought to engage with the preservation implications of Web 2.0 </li></ul><ul><li>The project has used blogs and wikis to support its work </li></ul><ul><li>Implications of Web 2.0 for Web site preservation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of 3 rd party services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content = collaboration and communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Richer diversity of services (not just a file on a filestore/CMS/database) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More complex IPR issues </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Project looked at Wikis, blogs, reuse of data, disposable data, slideshare </li></ul>
  30. 31. One Example: Blogs <ul><li>How might you migrate the contents of a blog </li></ul><ul><li>This question was raised by Casey Leaver, shortly before leaving Warwick University </li></ul><ul><li>She migrated her blog from blogs at Warwick Univ to Wordpress </li></ul><ul><li>Note, though, that not all data was transferred (e.g. title, but not contents) so there’s a need to check transfer mechanisms </li></ul><ul><li>See also Derek Morrison, Auricle </li></ul>
  31. 32. What PoWR Recommends <ul><li>Preservation is possible! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not everything </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not every version of every resource </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not forever </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not perfect </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Manage your resources </li></ul><ul><li>Protect your resources </li></ul><ul><li>Keep some of them permanently </li></ul>
  32. 33. Approaches <ul><li>Business as usual </li></ul><ul><li>Policy review </li></ul><ul><li>Quick wins </li></ul><ul><li>A finite solution </li></ul><ul><li>A strategic approach </li></ul><ul><li>Convince the decision-makers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about internal and external drivers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Include Web Preservation in policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preservation-friendly features in future procurements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resources to manage capture and curation of resources </li></ul></ul>
  33. 34. Stoppers <ul><li>We need to consult lots of other people from different backgrounds, some of whom I don't know very well, and we don’t have a shared language </li></ul><ul><li>We'll need to form a virtual committee or task force to get this done </li></ul><ul><li>We need to take it to the very top of the Institution and they probably won't listen </li></ul><ul><li>We need to write a persuasive case and it's going to make me very unpopular </li></ul><ul><li>We'll need to buy, implement, and learn new software </li></ul><ul><li>It's going to cost a lot of money </li></ul><ul><li>People will have to change what they're doing </li></ul><ul><li>We need to gather evidence of who would be affected by data loss, and why </li></ul><ul><li>We need to do risk analysis </li></ul><ul><li>We need to do change management </li></ul>
  34. 35. Starters: Effecting Change <ul><li>Use the Handbook and the drivers listed </li></ul><ul><li>Use the Espida approach - outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>You can get quick results by running a pilot project, especially if it's very selective </li></ul><ul><li>Web harvesting software is open-source (i.e. free) </li></ul><ul><li>You could set up a regular harvest of the Institution's website with little or no disruption </li></ul><ul><li>Consulting a few people is an easy way to get results, and not the same as establishing a virtual committee </li></ul>
  35. 36. Starting Point <ul><li>What Web resources have you got? Where are they? Why have you got them? Who wants them? For how long? </li></ul><ul><li>Ways of finding out include a survey, research, ask your DNS manager, Compile IAR </li></ul><ul><li>Find your policies, assess them, strategic thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Appraise and select </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborate </li></ul><ul><li>Last step is the technology one - archive, domain harvesting etc. </li></ul>
  36. 37. The Handbook <ul><li>Final copy now being proof read </li></ul><ul><li>Creative Commons licence </li></ul>
  37. 38. Rethinking Web Preservation <ul><li>Chris Rusbridge: I would argue that outcome-related phrases like &quot;long term accessibility&quot; or &quot;usability over time&quot; are better than the process-oriented phrase &quot;digital preservation“ </li></ul><ul><li>How does this relate to JISC PoWR work? </li></ul><ul><li>Consider institutional : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of interest in “digital preservation” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Importance of use of services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Importance of reuse of services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This needs to complement: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National approaches to Web preservation and Web harvesting </li></ul></ul>
  38. 39. Web Specialist University Archivist, Records Manager and FOI Co-ordinator Lizzie Richmond Head of Web Services Alison Wildish <ul><li>Better informed about differences between printed and web records and their implications </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition that web preservation should be addressed to avoid gap in University history </li></ul><ul><li>This is worth doing </li></ul><ul><li>There’s a lot to think about </li></ul><ul><li>We’ll need to work together to succeed </li></ul><ul><li>We need a strategy because: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- its important at an institutional level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- consistency of approach will be crucial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- the line between publication and record is blurred </li></ul></ul>What have we learned?
  39. 40. Conclusions <ul><li>JISC PoWR project has: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Helped to begin process of raising awareness on Web preservation within institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitated engagement with key stakeholders in a small number of institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Produced examples of pragmatic approaches to preservation of Web resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Received feedback on the approaches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Produced draft handbook to share these approaches more widely </li></ul></ul>The challenges of Web site preservation are only just beginning