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CODE4LIB  March 2014

CODE4LIB March 2014

Subject:

Re: Archiving a website - best practices

From:

Jason Bengtson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 20 Mar 2014 07:59:25 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (25 lines)

It's funny; I've been well aware of groups such as the internet archive doing this work, but I hadn't thought much about how it was being done. It seems like there are two sides/challenges to this depending on what you want to preserve.

Case 1: You want to preserve what the user sees. To me this is more straightforward. You use tools such as some of those linked to already to capture the generated client-side web code and archive it. In the case of websites which may be using web code which, for whatever reason, might not be expected to future-scale in a compatible way (I'm thinking about some of the crazy-proprietary tags and properties that sometimes pop up), an era-appropriate web-browser, along with dependencies, could be kept in the archive space (maybe that's silly overkill, but it makes sense to me).

Case 2: You want to preserve the server-side scripting. This is both harder and just as straight-forward depending on how concerned you are with accessibility. Warehousing old code so you can look at the files is easy. If you still want the server-side scripts to run you'll need to keep them in some kind of virtual machine or virtual environment that's "locked in time". Anything like that would, of course, need to be isolated from the rest of a network and from the internet at large. I'm not sure why you'd want to do this, except to preserve an particular server-side approach for posterity, but then again museums have been known to do similar things. Wasn't it the British National Museum which built it's own copy of Babbage's never-completed Difference Engine from his own blueprints? You can learn a lot by seeing what happens when a piece of code runs instead of just making an educated guess. 

Best regards,

Jason Bengtson, MLIS, MA
Head of Library Computing and Information Systems
Assistant Professor, Graduate College
Department of Health Sciences Library and Information Management
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
405-271-2285, opt. 5
405-271-3297 (fax)
[log in to unmask]
http://library.ouhsc.edu
www.jasonbengtson.com

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On Mar 20, 2014, at 7:42 AM, Joanne Paterson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> http://netpreserve.org

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