Author: Clare

Introducing Individual Account Subscription Tiers for Perma

For the last year or so, we’ve been working to understand the potential for Perma to help individuals and institutions outside the academic community combat link rot.

Two things have become clear through our work. First, link rot is a problem for lots of people, not just scholars. Indeed, link rot matters to anyone who cites, refers or links to web pages with the hope that they won’t change or disappear down the road. Second, Perma can help lots of people prevent link rot, whether or not they’re part of academia.

For Perma to continue to serve people outside the academic community, we have to make sure that we use our resources responsibly and focus on users with the greatest need to preserve web sources for public access.

To help us do that more effectively, we’re introducing monthly subscription tiers for people whose Perma usage is not sponsored and supported by academic libraries or other registrars:

 

Trial Use  – Every account gets 10 free links upon registration.

Basic Use  – For a $10 monthly fee, accounts can make up to 10 new links per month.

Intermediate Use – For a $25 monthly fee, accounts can make up to 100 new links per month.

Heavy Use – For a $100 monthly fee, accounts can make up to 500 new links per month.

 

As a result of these changes, accounts no longer will receive 10 free links on a recurring basis each month.  

Free, unlimited service remains available for academic users whose Perma usage is supported by their libraries and for usage by courts. Similarly, academic institutions and courts will still continue to act as registrars for free. If you want to learn more about how academic institutions and courts can arrange for free service for those they support, please contact us.  

Private organizations will continue to have the option of becoming registrars for their users at a monthly group rate. Associated users are able to create unlimited links via their sponsor organization for free, and have access to collaboration tools. Later this year, we’ll be expanding subscription options for private organizations and launching additional enhancements to help academic libraries support faculty and students using Perma.

Our explorations into Perma’s potential are ongoing, and we welcome feedback. You can contact us by emailing  info at perma.cc.

MozFest 2018

The LIL team is a freewheelin’ one, always looking for new people to collaborate with, new ideas to connect to our current projects, and welcoming a little bit of chaos – so, naturally, Mozilla’s annual MozFest was a great fit for us to attend! Held this year in London, the event spanned over a week culminating in a large scale conference over the weekend. By their own description, MozFest is “a seven day celebration for, by, and about people who love the internet” and they certainly delivered on the enthusiasm. Over the weekend Ravensbourne University was transformed on all nine floors into the home of six distinct spaces designated for varying facets of the web. Decentralisation, Digital Inclusion, Openness, Privacy & Security, Web Literacy and a Youth Zone were the main “spaces”, each with its own set of speakers, session leaders and artists.  Attendees were set free to visit each of these floors and facilitators encouraged to move away from lectures and towards hands-on workshops.

The Perma.cc session fell, appropriately, in the Web Literacy space, which took over the Ravensbourne library for Saturday and Sunday. We had a great discussion with internet users who were both familiar with the concept of link-rot and those who were seeing it in a new light. We created a physical web to help us visualize the ripple effect of a website going down. Here are some of us in the process of creating it:

Throughout the rest of the weekend, I was able to attend and experience some other great sessions:

  • In the web literacy space, an augmented reality view of the front page of the NYTimes: Users would hold iPads up to this large scale installation to see commentary on headlines. The augmentations ranged from funny to slightly off-putting, highlighting the experience of reading the news in the era of misinformation.

  • In someone else’s shoes: the prevalence of mobile-only internet access, and implications for users who are underserved in many other ways. The group gathered together and were all given user personas and a task to complete using only our mobile phones. Then, we were asked to map out our experiences on a large piece of paper. My partner and I put ourselves into the shoes of a middle-aged mother whose children had been her computer help until they both left for college. She now uses her sister’s smartphone when she needs to access the internet, and needed to apply for a government service. A lot of times, we think of online or digital solutions as simplifiers, but that’s not always the case. Here’s our visual representation of that experience:

  • Creating a feminist data set: Artist Caroline Sinders presented her work creating a dataset that would be capable of informing a responsibly programmed AI with a feminist perspective. Her work is concerned with how bias can trickle into technologies that are often viewed as objective. Her project seeks to create a dataset that is representative of intersectional feminism. 

There were countless other sessions happening, including installations by our friends from MetaLab, a talk by Tim Berners-Lee on his latest work, and a conference-wide LARP event.

Thanks to all the facilitators and organizers! And long live a healthy internet!

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!

 

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?

 

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!

Feature Update: Batch Link Creation

This week we are excited to announce the release of a long awaited Perma.cc feature: Batch Link Creation! Now, you can prevent link rot and citation drift en masse.

Before, your links were stowed away safely to be preserved for future use, but only one at a time. Now, you can create multiple Perma Links for your article, book, or briefing in one easy step. When you visit Perma.cc, select “Create Multiple Links” before you start.

Then simply collect the urls of the sites you want to capture and copy / paste them into the new upload portal:

The batch of Perma Links will be created and added to the folder of your choice, where you can treat them as individual records.

Here’s a good tip: if you use a citation creation tool like Zotero, you can export your chosen links into a .csv file (instructions here) and simply copy, paste, and preserve.

This feature is available to all Perma account holders but beware free account holders, those ten links per month might go faster than you were expecting. If you’re interested in learning more about our membership options for more frequent users give us a shout at  info at perma.cc.

We’re always working to improve Perma. If you’re curious, all of our code is open source and available on Github and we have an API for developers.

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