What To Do When a Service Provider Closes

Introduction This seven point checklist presents some steps that creators and managers of community digital archives might take to make sure that their data is available in the long term. It is useful for many circumstances but it will be particularly relevant to community archives that depend on third party suppliers to provide technical infrastructure. [...]

Closing Down Blogs

Closing Down Blogs There may be times when there is no longer effort available to continue to maintain a blog. There may also be occasions when a blog has fulfilled its purpose. In such cases there is a need to close the blog in a managed fashion. An example of a project blog provided by [...]

Policies On Blog Comments

About Comments On Blogs Many blog services allow comments to be made on the blog posts. This facility is normally configurable via the blog owner’s administrator’s interface. An example of the interface in the WordPress blog is shown in Figure 1. Figure 1: Administrator’s Interface for Blog Comments on WordPress Blog The Need For A [...]

Best Practices For APIs: Consuming (3)

About These Documents This document is 3 of 3 which describe best practices for consuming APIs provided by others. Clarifying Issues Certain issues should be clarified before use of an external API. The two key matters for elucidation are data ownership and costing. You should be clear on which items will be owned by the [...]

Best Practices For APIs: Consuming (2)

About These Documents This document is 2 of 3 which describe best practices for consuming APIs provided by others. Risk Management When relying on an externally hosted service there can be some element of risk such as loss of service, change in price of a service or performance problems. Some providers may feel the need [...]

Best Practices For APIs: Consuming (1)

About These Documents This document is 1 of 3 which describe best practices for consuming APIs provided by others. Be Careful In Selecting The APIs Choose the APIs you use carefully. You can find potential APIs by signing up to RSS feeds, registering for email notifications for when new APIs are released, checking forums and [...]

Best Practices For APIs: Planning (4)

Make Sure the API Works Make your API scalable (i.e. able to cope with a high number of hits), extendable and design for updates. Test your APIs as thoroughly as you would test your user interfaces and where relevant, ensure that it returns valid XML (i.e. no missing or invalid namespaces, or invalid characters). Embed [...]

Best Practices For APIs: Planning (3)

Provide Documentation Although a good API should be, by its very nature, intuitive and theoretically not need documentation it is good practice to provide clear useful documentation and examples for prospective developers. This documentation should be well written, clear and full. Inaccurate, inappropriate or documentation of your API is the easiest way to lose users. [...]

Best Practices For APIs: Planning (2)

Seek To Follow Standards It is advisable to follow standards where applicable. If possible it makes sense to piggy-back on to accepted Web-oriented standards and use well know standards from international authorities: IEEE, W3C, OAI or from successful, established companies. You could refer to the W3C Web Applications Working Group. Where an existing standard isn’t [...]

Best Practices For APIs: Planning (1)

About The Best Practices For APIs Documents This document is the first in a series of four briefing documents which provide advice on the planning processes for the creation of APIs. The Importance of Planning As with other activities, design of APIs projects requires effective planning. Rather than just adding an API to an existing [...]

An Introduction to Podcasts

What Is Podcasting? Podcasting has been described as “a method of publishing files to the internet, often allowing users to subscribe to a feed and receive new files automatically by subscription, usually at no cost.” [1]. Podcasting is a relatively new phenomena becoming popular in late 2004. Some of the early adopters regard Podcasting as [...]

An Introduction to Microformats

Background This document provides an introduction to microformats, with a description of what microformats are, the benefits they can provide and examples of their usage. In addition the document discusses some of the limitations of microformats and provides advice on best practices for use of microformats. What Are Microformats? “Designed for humans first and machines [...]

Risk Assessment for Use of Third Party Web 2.0 Services

Background This briefing document provides advice for Web authors, developers and policy makers who are considering making use of Web 2.0 services which are hosted by external third party services. The document describes an approach to risk assessment and risk management which can allow the benefits of such services to be exploited, whilst minimising the [...]

Advice on Selecting Open Source Software

About this document Performance and reliability are the principal criteria for selecting software. In most procurement exercises however, price is also a determining factor when comparing quotes from multiple vendors. Price comparisons do have a role, but usually not in terms of a simple comparison of purchase prices. Rather, price tends to arise when comparing [...]

Using the Risks and Opportunities Framework

Introduction A Risks and Opportunities Framework for exploiting the potential of innovation such as the Social Web has been developed by UKOLN [1]. This approach has been summarised in a briefing document [2] [2]. This briefing document provides further information on the processes which can be used to implement the framework. The Risks and Opportunities [...]

A Risks and Opportunities Framework For The Social Web

Introduction In today’s environment of rapid technological innovation and changing user expectations coupled with financial pressures it is no longer possible for cultural heritage organisations to develop networked services without being prepared to take some risks [1]. The challenge is how to assess such risks prior to making policy decision as to whether the organisation [...]

Further Uses for the Mobile Web

Introduction The document An Introduction to the Mobile Web [1] explains how increasing use of mobile devices offers institutions and organisations many opportunities for allowing their resources to be used in exciting new ways. This innovation relates in part to the nature of mobile devices (their portability, location awareness and abundance) but also to the [...]

What Makes A Good Tag?

There are No ‘Wrong’ Tags – Are There? Although from the theoretical viewpoint there are no ‘wrong’ tags, in practice care needs to be taken when creating tags. So here are a few tips. Tags are Single Words Each tag takes the form of a single word. This is fine if the idea you want [...]

An Introduction to Tags and Tagging

What is a Tag? Wikipedia defines a tag as “a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to a piece of information (such as an internet bookmark, digital image, or computer file)” [1]. Tags, which are a form of metadata, allow resources to be more easier found. Background In the pre-Internet era, library catalogues used keywords to [...]

Creating a Site for the Mobile Web

Introduction If you have made the decision to create a mobile Web site [1] there are a number of best practice techniques to bear in mind. URLs Best practices for URLs for Web sites include: Choose a short, easily remembered URL (e.g. xxx.ac.uk/mobile, m.xxx.ac.uk, or xxx.mobi). Stick with established conventions. Navigation Best practices for navigational [...]

An Introduction to the Mobile Web

What is the Mobile Web? Access to Web services used to be only through desk top computers. Improvement of laptop, personal digital assistant (PDA) and mobile phone technologies, alongside expansion of mobile networks, has meant that this is no longer the case. The number of mobile Web users is growing rapidly, now over half the [...]

An Introduction to QR Codes

What are QR Codes? Quick Response (QR) codes are two-dimensional barcodes (matrix codes) that allow their contents to be decoded at high speed. They were created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994 and have been primarily used for tracking purposes but have only recently filtered into mainstream use with the creations of applications that allow [...]

Matrix For Selection Of Standards

Background A wide range of standards are available which seek to ensure that networked services are platform and application-independent, accessibility, interoperable and are suitable for re-purposing. But how does one go about selecting appropriate open standards, especially, as described below, some open standards may fail to reach maturity? This briefing document describes an approach which [...]

An Introduction To Open Standards

Background The use of open standards can help provide interoperability and maximise access to online services. However this raises two questions: “Why open standards?” and “What are open standards?”. Why Open Standards? Open standards can be useful for a number of reasons: Application Independence: To ensure that access to resources is not dependent on a [...]

Using Video at Events

Background Use of video is one of a number of techniques that might be used to amplify an event. The term amplified conference describes a conference or similar event in which the talks and discussions at the conference are ‘amplified’ through use of networked technologies in order to extend the reach of the conference deliberations [...]

An Introduction to Database Rights

History Copyright is legal device that gives the owner the right to control how a creative work is used. Until several years ago the contents of a database could not be legally protected. Producers of databases that contained factual data could not claim copyright protection which made it impossible for them to prevent others from [...]

Use of Twitter at Events

What is Twitter? As described in [1] Twitter is a micro-blogging service which allows users to send brief posts (known as ‘tweets‘) up to 140 characters long. The tweets are displayed on the users profile page or in a Twitter client by users who have chosen to ‘follow’ the user. What are Hashtags? Hashtags [2] [...]

Using Networked Applications at Events

Using Networked Applications At Events Increasingly WiFi networks are available in lecture theatres [1]. With greater ownership of laptops, PDAs, etc. we can expect conference delegates to make use of the networks. There is a danger that this could lead to possible misuse (e.g. accessing inappropriate resources; reading email instead of listening; etc.) This document [...]

Exploiting Networked Technologies At Events

Using Mobile Telephony Networks Increasingly WiFi networks are available in lecture theatres, conference venues, etc. We are beginning to see various ways in which networked applications are being used to enhance conferences, workshops and lectures [1]. However there is a need to address issues such as being clear of potential uses, being aware of user [...]

Web Archiving

Introduction Archiving is a confusing term and can mean the backup of digital resources and/or the long-term preservation of those records. This document talks about the physical archiving of your Web site as the last in a series of steps after selection and appraisal of Web resources has taken place. This will be part of [...]

Selection for Web Resource Preservation

Introduction This document provides some approaches to selection for preservation of Web resources. Background Deciding on a managed set of requirements is absolutely crucial to successful Web preservation. It is possible that, faced with the enormity of the task, many organisations decide that any sort of capture and preservation action is impossible and it is [...]

Preserving Your Home Page

Introduction An organisation’s home page provides the doorway to its Web site. How it changes over time reflects both how an organisation has changed and how the Web has changed. Keeping a record of both the visual and structural changes of the home page could be very important in the future. Scenario Suppose your organisation [...]

Preserving Web 2.0 Resources

Introduction We have become increasingly familiar with the term Web 2.0, referring in a very general way to the recent explosion of highly interactive and personalised Web services and applications. Collaboration and social networking are a key feature, for example through contributing comments or sharing write access and collaborating. Many of these applications have now [...]

Introduction to Web Resource Preservation

Introduction Institutions now create huge amounts of Web-based resources and the strategic importance of these is finally being recognised. Long-term stewardship of these resources by their owners is increasingly becoming a topic of interest and necessity. What is Web ‘Preservation’? Digital preservation is defined as a “series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued access [...]

An Introduction to Wikis

What Is A Wiki? A wiki is a Web site that uses wiki software, allowing the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked Web pages, using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor, within the browser [1]. The key characteristics of typical wikis are: The ability to create and edit content [...]

An Introduction to Cloud Computing

What is Cloud Computing? Cloud computing is an umbrella term used to refer to Internet based development and services. The cloud is a metaphor for the Internet. A number of characteristics define cloud data, applications services and infrastructure: Remotely hosted: Services or data are hosted on someone else’s infrastructure. Ubiquitous: Services or data are available [...]

An Introduction to Web APIs

What is a Web API? API stands for ‘application programming interface’. An API is the interface that a computer system, computer library or application provides to allow requests for services to be made of it by other programs and/or to allow data to be exchanged between them. A Web API is the Web version of [...]

An Introduction to OPML

What Is OPML? OPML is defined in Wikipedia as “an XML format for outlines” [1]. OPML stands for Outline Processor Markup Language. It was originally developed as an outlining application by Radio Userland. However it has been adopted for a range of other applications, in particular providing an exchange format for RSS. Why The Interest? [...]

An Introduction to RSS and Atom

About RSS and Atom RSS is defined in Wikipedia as “a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works – such as blog entries, news headlines, audio and video – in a standardized format” [1]. RSS and the related Atom standard can be used to provide alerts and syndication of content. These [...]

An Introduction To AJAX

What Is AJAX? AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is “a group of interrelated Web development techniques used to create interactive web applications or rich Internet applications” [1]. Using AJAX it is possible to develop Web applications which have a rich user interface which can approach the usability of well-written desktop application. The Origins of AJAX [...]

Developing Your Digital Preservation Policy

Why Do I Need a Preservation Policy? The digital world is one of continual change and rapid development of technology. Web sites change content, are radically restructured or disappear. Software is released in new versions, which may not be (fully) compatible with resources created using the earlier versions. Recording media for digital resources also deteriorates, [...]