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 [...]

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: 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 (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 [...]

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 [...]

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 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 [...]

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] [...]

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 [...]

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 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 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 [...]

Preparing For Digitisation

Management Issues It is important that managers and governing bodies are fully aware of the implications of a digitisation project, especially the need to maintain resources beyond the project. Managers need to have sufficient knowledge to devise and implement relevant policies and procedures including a training plan. Staff and Volunteers Digitisation projects often require the [...]

Project Scoping and Planning

Principles Depending on the scale of the project, certain project planning tools and approaches should be applied since digitisation is likely to be seen as a discrete project, rather than purely an operational process. Perhaps the first and potentially most useful is to outline the scope of the project. This can be done using mind [...]

Introduction To Intellectual Property and Copyright

About Copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects artistic works such as literature, music, art and recordings. It provides protection for creators as well as publishers. It is also important for publishers, such as museums, to protect themselves against breaches of copyright. Copyright varies country by country although there is increasing harmonisation [...]

An Introduction To Twitter

What Is Micro-blogging? Micro-blogging is defined in Wikipedia as “a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates (usually 140 characters) and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, [...]

An Introduction To Micro-blogging

What Is Micro-blogging? Micro-blogging is defined in Wikipedia as “a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates (usually 140 characters) and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, [...]

An Introduction To Creative Commons

What is a Creative Commons? Creative Commons (CC) [1] refers to a movement started in 2001 by US lawyer Lawrence Lessig that aims to expand the collection of creative work available for others to build upon and share. The Creative Commons model makes a distinction between the big C (Copyright) meaning All Rights Reserved and [...]

Top Ten Tips For Web Site Preservation

About This Document This document provides top tips which can help to ensure that Web sites can be preserved. The Top 10 Tips 1 Define The Purpose(s) Of Your Web Site You should have a clear idea of the purpose(s) of your Web site and you should document the purposes. Your Web site could, for [...]

An Introduction To Mashups

What Is A Mashup? Wikipedia defines a mashup as “a web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool” [1]. Many popular examples of mashups use the Google Map service to provide a location display of data taken from another source. Technical Concepts As illustrated in a video clip [...]

Layout Testing with Greeked Pages

Background Page layout, content and navigation are not always designed at the same time. It is often necessary to work through at least part of these processes separately. As a result, it may not be possible to test layouts with realistic content until a relatively late stage in the design process, meaning that usability problems [...]

Developing User Personas

Background When designing a Web site or program, the obvious question to ask at once is, “who are my audience?” It seems natural to design with users in mind, and just as natural to wish to build a product that is satisfactory to all one’s users – however, experience shows that it is difficult to [...]

Task Analysis and Usability

Background A key issue in usability is that of understanding users, and a key part of user-centred design is that of describing the tasks that the users expect to be able to accomplish using the software you design [1]. Because of the origins of usability as a discipline, a lot of the terminology used when [...]

Usability and the Web

Background Usability refers to a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The term is also used to refer to a number of techniques and methods for improving usability during the various stages of design and development. What Does Usability Include? Usability can be separated into several components [1] such as: [...]

Facebook: Opportunities and Challenges

Why The Interest In Facebook? Facebook has generated much interest over recent months. Much of the interest has arisen since Facebook announced the Facebook Platform [1] which enabled third party developers to build applications which could be used within the Facebook environment. Since Facebook was developed initially to support students it is not surprising that [...]

Addressing Barriers to Blogging

About This Document This document gives advice on addressing possible barriers you might face when setting up a blog in a cultural heritage context. Piloting Your Blogging Service Libraries will often trial a service to test the product and to gauge the response of their library users. Developing your blog as a ‘pilot’ project provides [...]

Technical Issues For Your Blogging Service

About This Document This document provides advice on a variety of technical issues which need to be addressed when you are planning your blog service. Externally Hosted Or Locally Hosted Software? Where should you host your blog software? Traditionally when organisations have wished to provides IT services they have either installed software in-house, or negotiated [...]