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I think this episode also illustrates, once again, that preservation is not
about technology at all, it's about *institutional commitment*. The kind of
institutional commitment that would have implemented and maintained the
kinds of procedures that Jonathan described. Without institutional
commitment, no technology on earth can save you.
Roy


On 9/1/09 9/1/09  9:00 AM, "Jonathan Rochkind" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I'd add that not only does it sound like GPO maintained no failover
> backup, it sounds, based on Jonathan Lebreton's report,  like they
> didn't even maintain an offline backup, since they're needing to
> regenerate the purl database from raw data, rather than simply restoring
> from a backup, which would generally be much quicker then the process
> that Jonathan Lebreton seems to be describing.
> 
>  From what info we have, it sounds like GPO simply, well, was very very
> far from 'best practices' for a service meant to be robustly reliable.
> On the other hand, we're just going from sort of third hand hearsay,
> maybe they were doing things more right than it sounds, but some kind of
> catastrophic unexpected 'perfect storm' still happened to bring
> everything down. Maybe 48 hours of outage in 10 years (how long has GPO
> purl been running? Have there been outages like this before?) is
> appropriate reliability for the level of importance of this service. I
> dunno.
> 
> Jonathan
> 
> Jonathan Lebreton wrote:
>> This is indeed an interesting problem - we are all dependent on a
>> centralized service node.
>> 
>> Just got off the phone with GPO 9 am 9/1/09.
>> I was told they are now up to 50% or PURLs restored but the script is
>> running very slowly line-by-line since the server (they're updating the
>> production server while it is up) is experiencing unusually heavy load
>> from the user community and bots scheduled to troll at beginning of the
>> month.  
>> 
>> Jonathan LeBreton
>> Sr. Associate University Librarian
>> Temple University Libraries
>> voice: 215-204-8231
>> fax: 215-204-5201
>> email:  [log in to unmask]
>> email:  [log in to unmask]
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>   
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
>>>     
>> Of
>>   
>>> James Jacobs
>>> Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 6:06 PM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] GPO PURLs
>>> 
>>> Hi all, (cross-posted to purl-dev)
>>> 
>>> I'm a documents librarian (and member of the Depository Library
>>> Council)
>>> and usually just a lurker over here. Thanks Keith and Patricia for the
>>> easy workaround. I shared this with govdoc-l and on my blog:
>>> 
>>> http://freegovinfo.info/node/2704
>>> 
>>> See especially the comment that as of today, only 3,677 PURLs out of
>>> 116,237 have been restored (3.1%). I would love to hear your
>>> thoughts/ideas for how this kind of critical system failure can be
>>> averted in the future from a technological standpoint. Is it possible
>>> to
>>> mirror a purl server? Will the same issue occur when GPO moves to
>>> handles in FDsys (http://www.handle.net/)? Will a distributed
>>> infrastructure as I've briefly mapped out be able to handle these
>>>     
>> types
>>   
>>> of critical system crashes better?
>>> 
>>> Please let me know and I'd be happy to share your ideas with GPO and
>>> the
>>> documents community.
>>> 
>>> Best,
>>> 
>>> James Jacobs
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Keith Jenkins wrote:
>>>     
>>>> Thanks to everyone who helped me confirm that the GPO PURL server is
>>>> down.  An official announcement on the GPO Listserv said:
>>>>    "The PURL Server is currently inaccessible. GPO is working with
>>>>       
>> IT
>>   
>>>> staff to restore service as soon as possible. We regret any
>>>> inconvenience caused by the server problems. An updated listserv
>>>>       
>> will
>>   
>>>> be sent once service is restored."
>>>> 
>>>> While the server is down, here is one workaround (thanks to Patricia
>>>>       
>>> Duplantis):
>>>     
>>>>    1. Go to http://catalog.gpo.gov/
>>>>    2. Click "Advanced Search"
>>>>    3. Search for word in "URL/PURL", enter the PURL
>>>>    4. Click "Go"
>>>>    5. The original URL at the time of cataloging should appear in a
>>>>       
>>> 53x note.
>>>     
>>>> This incident, however, illuminates a weakness in PURL systems:
>>>>       
>>> access
>>>     
>>>> is broken when the PURL server breaks, even though the documents are
>>>> still online at their original URLs.
>>>> 
>>>> Maybe someone more familiar with PURL systems can tell me... is
>>>>       
>> there
>>   
>>>> any way to harvest data from a PURL server, so that a backup/mirror
>>>> can be available?
>>>> 
>>>> Keith
>>>>       
>>> --
>>> James R. Jacobs
>>> International Documents Librarian
>>> Green Library, Stanford University
>>> P: (650) 725-1030 E: [log in to unmask]
>>> AIM: LibrarianJames T: @freegovinfo
>>> 
>>> The more beautiful questions demand the more beautiful answers,
>>> and if we can learn to ask them, we stand a chance of steering
>>> clear of shipwreck on our jury-rigged and not so distant star.
>>> --Lewis Lapham, Lapham's Quarterly I(3), Summer, 2008, p.17.
>>> 
>>> -----------------------------------------------
>>> This message may have been intercepted and read by U.S. government
>>> agencies including the FBI, CIA, and NSA without notice or warrant or
>>> knowledge of sender or recipient.
>>> 
>>>   (\
>>> {|||8-
>>>   (/
>>>     
>> 
>>   
>