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Showing posts from November, 2013

2013-11-28: Replaying the SOPA Protest

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In an attempt to limit online piracy and theft of intellectual property, the U.S. Government proposed the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA). This act was widely unpopular. On January 18th, 2012, many prevalent websites (e.g., XKCD) organized a world-wide blackout of their websites in protest of SOPA.

While the attempted passing of SOPA may end up being a mere footnote in history, the overwhelming protest in response is significant. This event is an important observance and should be archived in our Web archives. However, some methods of implementing the protest (such as JavaScript and Ajax) made the resulting representations unarchiveable by archival services at the time. As a case study, we will examine the Washington, D.C. Craigslist site and the English Wikipedia page. All screenshots of the live protests were taken during the protest on January 18th, 2012. The screenshots of the mementos were taken on November 27th, 2013.


Craigslist put up a blackout page that would only provide acc…

2013-11-21: 2013 Southeast Women in Computing Conference (SEWIC)

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Last weekend (Nov 14-17), I was honored to give a keynote at the Southeast Women in Computing Conference (SEWICC), located at the beautiful Lake Guntersville State Park in north Alabama.  The conference was organized by Martha Kosa and Ambareen Siraj (Tennessee Tech University), and Jennifer Whitlow (Georgia Tech).


Videos from the keynotes and pictures from the weekend will soon be posted on the conference website.  (UPDATE 1/24/14: Flickr photostream and links to keynote videos added.)


The 220+ attendees included faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and even some high school students (and even some men!).

On Friday night, Tracy Camp from the Colorado School of Mines presented the first keynote, "What I Know Now... That I Wish I Knew Then".  It was a great kickoff to the conference and provided a wealth of information on (1) the importance of mentoring, networking, and persevering, (2) tips on negotiating and time management, and (3) advice on dealing with the Imposto…

2013-11-21: The Conservative Party Speeches and Why We Need Multiple Web Archives

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.@Conservatives put speeches in Streisand's house: http://t.co/6aRiOsHwxO@UKWebArchive: http://t.co/BGD3tYavEx via @lljohnston@hhockx
— Michael L. Nelson (@phonedude_mln) November 13, 2013 Circulating the web last week the story of the UK's Conservative Party (aka the "Tories") removing speeches from their website (see Note 1 below).  Not only did they remove the speeches from their website, but via their robots.txt file they also blocked the Internet Archive from serving their archived versions of the pages as well (see Note 2 below of a discussion of robots.txt, as well as for an update about availability in the Internet Archive).  But even though the Internet Archive allows site owners to redact pages from their archive, mementos of the pages likely exist in other archives.  Yes, the Internet Archive was the first web archive and is still by far the largest with 240B+ pages, but the many other web archives, in aggregate, also provide good coverage (see our 2013 …

2013-11-19: REST, HATEOAS, and Follow Your Nose

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This post is hardly timely, but I wanted to gather together some resources that I have been using for REST (Representational State Transfer) and HATEOAS (Hypermedia as the Engine of Application State).  It seems like everyone claims to be RESTful, but mentioning HATEOAS is frequently met with silence.  Of course, these terms come from Roy Fielding's PhD dissertation, but I won't claim that it is very readable (it is not the nature of dissertations to be readable...).  Fortunately he's provided more readable blog posts about REST and HATEOAS. At the risk of aggressively over-simplifying things, REST = "URIs are nouns, not verbs" and HATEOAS = "follow your nose".

"Follow your nose" simply means that when a client dereferences a URI, the entity that is returned is responsible for providing a set of links that allows the user agent to transition to the next state.  This standard procedure in HTML: you follow links to guide you through an online t…

2013-11-13: 2013 Archive-It Partner Meeting Trip Report

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test On November 12, I attended the 2013 Archive-It Partner Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, our research group's second year of attendance (see 2012 Trip Report). The meeting started off casually at 9am with breakfast and registration. Once everyone was settled, Kristine Hanna, the Director of Archiving Services at Internet Archive introduced her team that was present of the meeting. Kristine acknowledged the fire at Internet Archive last week and the extent of the damage. "It did burn to the ground but thankfully, nobody was injured." She reminded the crowd of partners to review Archive-It's storage and preservation policy and mentioned the redundancies in-place, including a soon-to-be mirror at our very own ODU. Kristine then mentioned news of a new partnership with Reed Technologies to jointly market and sell Archive-It (@archiveitorg). She reassured the audience that nothing would change beyond having more resources for them to accomplish their goals. Kristine t…

2013-11-08: Proposals for Tighter Integration of the Past and Current Web

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The Memento Team is soliciting feedback on two white papers that address related proposals for more tightly integrating the past and current web.

The first is "Thoughts on Referencing, Linking, Reference Rot", which is inspired by the hiberlink project.  This paper proposes making temporal semantics part of the HTML <a> element, via "versiondate" and "versionurl" attributes that respectively include the datetime the link was created and optionally a link to an archived version of the page (in case the live web version becomes 404, goes off topic, etc.).  The idea is that "versiondate" can be used as a Memento-Datetime value by a client, and "versionurl" can be used to record a URI-M value.  This approach is inspired by the Wikipedia Citation Template, which has many metadata fields, including "accessdate" and "archiveurl".  For example, in the article about the band "Coil", one of the links to the s…

2013-11-2: WSDL NFL Power Rankings Week 9

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We are halfway through the 2013 NFL season and it is time for our WSDL mid-season rankings. Both conferences have one winless team, Jacksonville in the AFC and Tampa Bay in the NFC.  The NFC is looking rather lackluster this year with no standout teams so far. The NFC East teams in particular need to get their acts together. The AFC appears to be dominating the League with  a number of teams that are performing quite well. Two teams that show up on the top of every power ranking list are the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kansas City has a great defense, using our efficiency ratings they are rated as the fifth best defense in the league. However a good defense will only get you so far when your offense is ranked at 27th out of 32. Denver on the other hand has the highest ranked offense in our system with a lot of that on Peyton Mannings shoulders. A good passing offense correlates quite well with a team that wins games.

Here is where our ranking system rates each of the te…