Month: October 2018

Perma and Genealogy

We’ve spent a lot of time recently brainstorming on different ways Perma can be used outside of the law arena: anyone who has experienced the frustration and disappointment of finding a 404 error instead of the information they were looking for knows link-rot does not discriminate by subject area.  Prompted by some of the Perma.cc teams’ family members’ interest in their personal histories, genealogy research presented us an interesting use-case to explore.

As researchers rely more heavily on the internet across all fields, consistent access to online information will only become more important, and disappearing or changing information can seriously hinder their work.  Thanks to the popularity of online genealogy sites such as Ancestry.com and increasing availability of online materials, genealogical research has never been more accessible. Researchers looking into their own families are making connections in real time and documenting their work for others in the future.

But link-rot threatens the stability of this information (and the researcher’s ability to reference it), as well as information cited by others researcher whose original citations no longer exist. A brief survey of blogs dedicated to genealogy and genealogical research has shown that few offer in and of themselves a way to prevent the dreaded 404 error. We believe Perma.cc provides a streamlined way to archive your work as someone undertaking genealogical research, as well as a convenient way to cite it so it’s always available to others.  

Perma is also now recommended by the Chicago Manual of Style as a way to preserve a permanent record of sources that are at risk for change!

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!

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