Perma Madness! Mid-October Edition

Lots of Perma appearances over the past two weeks! Per Westlaw, in the two weeks Perma.cc Links have showed up in:

  • 24 state and federal court opinions
  • 192 law review articles
  • 16 court filings, including briefs and trial court documents

Sign up here to use Perma.cc to ensure your own linked sources are safe. We are also now offering individual unlimited-use accounts!

Perma at Boston University’s LibraryFest 2018

I had the pleasure of manning a table at the BU Law School LibraryFest this past month! Librarian Shira Feldman invited me to discuss the Library Innovation Lab projects with BU Law Students, including Perma.cc and H2O.


B.U. Law Tower. Image c/o Wikimedia

There was significant interest from the law students, most of which were 1L’s, about how Perma.cc tackles the issue of link rot. As I’ve found with others, they hadn’t considered the potential impact of link rot on their research or citations, but quickly understood both its impacts and how Perma addresses them. Many were also intrigued by H2O, in particular how it lets instructors create a textbook for their course that would be either free (when accessed online) or a fraction of the cost of a traditional casebook (when distributed through a print-on-demand service).

My thanks again to Shira and the BU Library staff for their friendliness and energy! – Brett

iPres 2018

Perma got off the ground in 2013 as one piece of the digital preservation puzzle: helping prevent authors’ work from succumbing to the ephemeral nature of the internet by creating records of what on the web they use and reference. iPres, the longest running conference dedicated to digital preservation was founded 15 years ago, brings together pieces of the same puzzle from around the globe. The field is without doubt evolving quickly so we were very excited this year to attend iPres 2018, which was held in our home town of Boston. We shared our progress with others and participated in some exciting workshops along the way.

Some big takeaways from the week:

As this year marked 15 iPres conferences, there was a great deal of reflection going on. Maureen Pennock, Barbara Sierman, Sheila Morrisey sat on a “looking back” panel. In their eyes, digital preservation is an ongoing and iterative process in which  great communication, planning, and having buy in from the right people is essential. For example, they see outside funding as an amazing catalyst in the digital preservation world. They also emphasized the merits of having every person in an institution who works with digital materials being aware of and participating in preservation. Going forward, they hope to see the use of machine learning and AI to help take on some of the entity and metadata extraction that is now a big drain on time. Finally, they hope that organizations will strive for collaboration and mutual problem solving by contributing to things like COPTR.

What’s  COPTR, you ask? It stands for Community Owned (digital) Preservation Tool Registry, and it acts primarily as a finding and evaluation tool to help practitioners find the tools they need to preserve digital data. Anyone can contribute and edit the registry. Cool stuff. Perma has an entry now!

Finally, our friends over at Rhizome have some exciting stuff going on at their project, Webrecorder. Lead developer Ilya Kreymer is a friend of LIL and a former summer fellow here at the lab. Webrecorder, much like Perma, does not work like a traditional crawler that other archiving services use to capture the web. Instead, we’re both creating what we call “high fidelity” captures, created using a headless browser that records aspects of the code such embedded media, Javascript and other interactive content that crawlers miss.

This process creates a much higher quality capture, but has limitations in scale since the process is user-triggered. But, we were super excited about seeing that Ilya is also experimenting with capturing entire sites and platforms in this high fidelity way. You can check out his work with scalar now, although you must request access since it is not open to the public yet. Check out Ilya’s own words here.

We’ve always known here at Perma.cc that our effort to save the web’s citations from link rot was only one piece of the puzzle, and we loved hearing about how the other the puzzle pieces are iterating, growing and collaborating. Looking forward to next year!

 

Perma Pops Up on Westlaw, Week of October 1st

Per Westlaw, in the past week Perma.cc Links have showed up in:

  • 9 state and federal court opinions, including opinions by the highest court in
    • Illinois
    • Washington
    • Massachusetts
  • 35 law review articles
  • 5 court filings, and an environmental law forms guide.

Sign up here to use Perma.cc to ensure your own linked sources are safe. We also offer organization-wide accounts and are now offering individual unlimited-use accounts!

New Perma.cc Policy Regarding No-Archive Metatags

We’re excited to announce a change to the way Perma.cc handles our users’ efforts to preserve web pages that have generic no-archive metatags.

In the past, when someone used Perma to preserve a webpage with a generic no-archive metatag (such as a New York Times or NPR article) the resulting Perma record was automatically, unalterably set to “Private.” We’ve found that this practice was unnecessary and often a source of confusion and frustration for our users.

Going forward, when someone uses Perma to preserve a page with a generic no-archive tag, that Perma record will not automatically be set to “Private.” Instead, these records will be public by default, and users will have the option to manually make them private if they or their institutions wish. In addition, existing Perma records with generic no-archive metatags will remain private, but users now can make those records public.

Perma.cc will continue to recognize any Perma-specific “noarchive” metatag or a Perma-specific robots.txt exclusion. Any Perma records of sites implementing those methods will be private.

We’re enthusiastic about the way this change will provide even greater access to links and citations that’ve been protected through Perma. Feel free to reach out to us at  info at perma.cc with any questions!

Perma.cc Usage in the Legal World, Week of September 16th

Perma.cc‘s use in the legal realm continues to grow. Per Westlaw, in the past week Perma Links made appearances in:

  • 11 court opinions, including opinions by the highest court in
    • Massachusetts
    • Vermont
    • Maryland
    • Iowa
  • 34 law review articles
  • 6 court filings, including 3 Supreme Court briefs.

Perma.cc use is encouraged by The Bluebook and the Chicago Manual of Style. Sign up here to use Perma.cc to ensure your own linked sources are safe. We also offer organization-wide accounts and are now offering individual unlimited-use accounts!

Now You Can Pay for Unlimited Perma Links (Yes, You!)

We’ve said it time and again: link rot is everywhere on the internet. Anyone who is concerned with having reliable internet citations should know that they need to be proactive about preserving their URLs. No one wants to revisit a blog post, or a wikipedia edit, or their genealogy research and find that they’ve lost a reliable source. When you’re faced with a 404 that means more effort to track down that information again, whether it be on the Wayback Machine or at a new location. And that’s if it exists somewhere else at all.

Since its inception Perma has helped law journals and courts create permanent citations for their work without any cap on the amount of links created. Over 350 institutions have joined us as registrars, administering accounts for academic use. These registrars act as administrators helping patrons navigate and troubleshoot. Everyone else not associated with a registrar has been able to work with Perma as well, but once their 10 free links a month dried up, they were out of luck.

We’ve gotten requests in the past from non-academically affiliated users who are hoping to have access to more than ten free links (they’ll even pay for it, they said!) Well – we’re all about experimenting here at the Library *Innovation* Lab, so we’ve put together a way for individuals to pay a monthly subscription fee to access unlimited Perma usage. For now, our price is $20 a month. Subscribers have access to the same Perma platform but now with the ability to create as many links as you need (that batch link tool all the sudden becomes very useful!) 

Upgrading is easy. There’s a link right below the URL input on your Perma.cc homepage that says “Upgrade to unlimited Perma Links”:

Clicking that link will bring you to a contact form to let us know you’re interested! Someone from our team will be in touch to get your unlimited account set up. If you’re new to Perma, you can start off right away with a premium account if you’d like. Just check the box during sign up and we’ll also be in touch: 

 

Of course, those affiliated with academic institutions and courts will continue to have access to Perma for free, and you can still make 10 links per month as a non-paying user. But we’ve heard from enough of you that sometimes 10 links just isn’t enough! This is a new path for Perma, so we’d love to hear feedback about our model. If you’re an individual user, what would your ideal system be?

 

Designing with Our Users: batch link creation

“Is there a way to create more than one Perma.cc link at a time?”  

This was a common question from our users and while it was a feature that was in the backlog, it was pushed into development when Leonid Grinberg, one of our own LIL alumni, now using Perma.cc as a law review editor, inquired about batch creation and offered to help build it!

We decided to invite the alumnus and additional law review editors to participate in a design session with our developers to sketch out how this feature might look and behave*.  Before we started designing, the editors spoke about their journals’ processes when it comes to creating perma.cc links for articles, so the perma team had a better understanding of user workflows. Next, participants did 2 rounds of sketching and sharing their ideas, and then it was time for some prototyping and development over the next 6 months.

This has culminated in the release of our batch link creation tool – launched in time for law review subcites. Click that link to read all about it, then log on to Perma.cc to try it out yourself!

*Full participant list:

Leonid Grinberg – NYU Law Student/former LIL team member, and initial developer for the project

Nick Szydlowski- BC Law’s Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communication Librarian

Lydia Lichlyter and Frederick Ding- HLR Editors

LIL Perma team: Anastasia Aizman, Becky Cremona, Ben Steinberg,  Adam Ziegler

Brett Johnson- LIL Outreach and Support Lead

Jess Rios- HLS Service Design and Assessment Librarian, co-creation activity facilitator

Why use Perma.cc?

It’s simple: link-rot affects anyone whose work links to the web. Perma.cc keeps your work safe from it. Check out our new video and get your own account today at Perma.cc!

AALL 2018: LIL goes to Baltimore

Last weekend members of the LIL team traveled to Baltimore for the annual gathering of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). Armed with our new business cards (thanks Anastasia) and freshly pressed buttons (thanks LILterns) Brett, Adam and I were ready to attend sessions, catch up with colleagues and hit the exhibit hall.

We kicked the weekend off with a keynote speech from Baltimore’s own John Waters, author and director of boundary-pushing cult films such as “Hairspray” and “Pink Flamingos”. Beyond his connection to the conference’s host city, his appearance seemed at first to be an odd fit. However, as he pointed out, “librarians are brave, smart and sometimes pissed off…and they stand up for people who get overlooked” – all qualities he tries to get at in his movies. His thoughts on access to books for prisoners, the risks of censorship, and equality got everyone ready for the next couple of days.

Our friends at LIPA once again generously shared their exhibit hall table with the LIL team, for which we’re exceedingly grateful. It was great to work alongside Margie Maes, champion of LIL and Executive Director of LIPA who will be retiring this month. Congratulations, Margie! We will miss her, but were also thrilled to meet her successor, Michelle as well. Here’s to future collaborations! 

 

A big goal of ours during AALL (in addition to spreading the word about new-and-improved H20, progress on the Caselaw Access Project, and new batch link creation for Perma) was to seek feedback and thoughts from colleagues about link and citation rot in the broader context. We’ve been rooted in our home of an academic law library – but we are seeking input and thoughts about linkrot in other industries and contexts.

We want to know: Who thinks linkrot is a problem for the flow of information and citation? What is their job? What kind of content is especially susceptible to the dreaded 404 error? At what points in the creation of the content are citations and links added? Whose responsibility is that? Are you seeing solutions to this problem? Email us! We’d love to talk.

Stay tuned for some of the answers we got during conversations at AALL!

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