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Showing posts from February, 2015

2015-02-17: Reactions To Vint Cerf's "Digital Vellum"

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Don't you just love reading BuzzFeed-like articles, constructed solely of content embedded from external sources?  Yeah, me neither.  But I'm going to pull one together anyway.

Vint Cerf generated a lot of buzz last week when at an AAAS meeting he gave talk titled "Digital Vellum".  The AAAS version, to the best of my knowledge, is not online but this version of "Digital Vellum" at CMU-SV from earlier the same week is probably the same.



The media (e.g., The Guardian, The Atlantic, BBC) picked up on it, because when Vint Cerf speaks people rightly pay attention.  However, the reaction from archiving practitioners and researchers was akin to having your favorite uncle forget your birthday, mostly because Cerf's talk seemed to ignore the last 20 or so years of work in preservation.  For a thoughtful discussion of Cerf's talk, I recommend David Rosenthal's blog post.  But let's get to the BuzzFeed part...

In the wake of the media coverage, I fo…

2015-02-17: Fixing Links on the Live Web, Breaking Them in the Archive

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On February 2nd, 2015, Rene Voorburgannounced the JavaScript utility robustify.js. The robustify.js code, when embedded in the HTML of a web page, helps address the challenge with link rot by detecting when a clicked link will return an HTTP 404 and uses the Memento Time Travel Service to discover mementos of the URI-R. Robustify.js assigns an onclick event to each anchor tag in the HTML. The event occurs, robustify.js makes an Ajax call to a service to test the HTTP response code of the target URI.

When an HTTP 404 response code is detected by robustify.js, it uses Ajax to make a call to a remote server, uses the Memento Time Travel Service to find mementos of the URI-R, and uses a JavaScript alert to let the user know that JavaScript will redirect the user to the memento.

Our recent studies have shown that JavaScript -- particularly Ajax -- normally makes preservation more difficult, but robustify.js is a useful utility that is easily implemented to solve an important challenge.…