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IRM10 – Moving Targets

This session from Richard Davis and Kevin Ashley from the University of London Computing Centre.

When you reference something you are expecting to give the user a fighting chance of being able to discover the material you have referenced. Traditionally physical material will be preserved somewhere, but when looking at web resources we have to look at the areas of digital and web preservation. Looking at Web preservation – examples like Wayback machine and the UK Web archive show some ‘good practice’ in this area.

When Richard cited a blog in a recent piece of work he cited the copy of the blog post on the UK Web Archive (http://www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/) instead of the initial blog post. But he questions whether others would ever do the same. Does this need to be part of information literacy training?

Quote from Peter Murray Rust – “I tend to work out my half-baked ideas in public” – academics may spend as much time on blog posts as they do on an academic paper. Michael Nielsen say in comparison to blogs “journals are standing still”. Heather Morrison highlights the shift from discrete items to the connected collection – both internal and external to the library.

The ‘ArchivePress’ project (http://archivepress.ulcc.ac.uk/) is looking at harvesting blog content from RSS feeds – idea is to make it easy to collect blog content – e.g. by an institutional library – and provide a persistent record of the work – an institutional record? Some rights issues may be simpler as the academic will already have contract with the institution that covers how their work can be used.

ArchivePress display of blog posts adds in a ‘cite this post’ link – with different styles offered – allows the citation of a persistent version of the content. Richard envisages a ‘repository’ type idea – showing mocked up examples that look like DSpace and e-prints 🙂

At the Universities of Leiden and Heidelberg there is a ‘citation repository’ specifically for Chinese web content (which is particularly volatile). The citation repository stores the original URL for the content – but most of these no longer work – proving the value of the repository.

New kinds of institutional collection – preserving content for the research of the future.

Now Kevin Ashley taking over – going to convince us that blogs need preserving. At a recent conference at Georgetown University – “Blogging has indeed transformed legal scholarship. Now it’s time to move the dialogue forward” – this from a discipline that regards itself as conservative.

Henry Rzepa (at Imperial) says “how long should/can a blog last. The last question leads on to whether blogs should be archived or curated” (http://www.ch.ic.ac.uk/rzepa/blog/?p=1459)

In the past you achieved ‘citability’ by publishing in the right place. Traditionally citations are location independent – you don’t say where you got the resource, you simply describe it. We need something as simple for blogs.

Kevin says:

  • Institutions can provide mechanisms
  • Authors need to use them
  • Blogs need to automatically expose citable link
  • “Permalinks” with a bit more “perm”

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