Archival Outlook - May/June 2016

Permalink Service Adopted By SAA’s Book Publishing Program

Christopher J. Prom and Anthony Cocciolo 2016-05-12 11:54:21

As archivists, we crave information and evidence. But we haven’t always been able to find it in our own literature. For example, you may find yourself reading a book about archives. The book was published several years ago, and you want to verify a statement or simply read more about the topic. Unfortunately, the cited web page leads to a “page not found” error. Or if the page does load, it may have changed drastically since the time the author cited it. Understandably, you feel frustrated. Thankfully, this scenario will be less common, at least if you are reading future books published by SAA. Beginning this year, SAA books will include permalinks for all cited web resources, not just those that have been assigned a DOI or some other permalink. This is possible because SAA’s book publishing program recently joined forces with perma.cc. SAA’s participation in the service is sponsored by the Digital Public Library of America and we hope it sets a model for other association publishers outside of law journals, for which perma.cc was originally developed. Perma.cc in Action While preparing the manuscript for his forthcoming SAA book, Moving Image and Sound Collections for Archivists, Anthony Cocciolo started using perma.cc. Working first without SAA sponsorship of his perma account, he was able to permalink ten pages. When he exhausted this limit, SAA upgraded the account, allowing him to permalink an unlimited number of webpages for this project. When logged in at the perma.cc site, Cocciolo sees folders showing sites that have been archived both for his project and for other SAA book projects. This helps him keep track of his own citations and to see what other SAA authors are citing, while also helping editors improve the quality of SAA publications. For Moving Image and Sound Collections for Archivists, Pratt MSLIS graduate assistant Allison Chomet entered the URLs from the manuscript into perma.cc, and then added the perma.cc references back into the manuscript; SAA has also added her as an organizational member under SAA’s account. We adopted the following citation format: Lisa Gregory and Stephanie Williams, “On Being a Hub: Some Details behind Providing Metadata for the Digital Public Library of America,” D-Lib Magazine 20 no. 7/8, http://www.dlib.org/dlib/july14/gregory /07gregory.html, permalinked on March 30, 2016, at http://perma.cc/TE97-QNTF. Chomet noted that she was “impressed with how easy it is to use.” The SAA Publications Program is also rolling out permalinks in other books, including those in the Trends in Archives Practice series due out this summer: Teaching with Primary Sources, Digital Preservation Essentials, and Acquisition and Appraisal Strategies. Best Practices We’ve developed a few best practices when using perma.cc. More complex webpages take more than a few seconds to archive, and we’ve noticed it is possible to have a link go dead if you don’t enter it at the time of writing (demonstrating the need for the service!). For these reasons, SAA recommends that authors use the bookmarklet that perma.cc provides on their website, as a low-barrier way to capture citations. That way, permalinking won’t slow down the writing or editing process, and readers will see exactly what the author saw at the time of writing. When permalinking articles from The New York Times and a few other sites, perma.cc creates private links. As a result, a reader visiting the site will not see the archived webpage but a message: “This record is private and cannot be displayed.” This makes sense: commercial sites like The New York Times would rather that you view the live website rather than the archived content, and they plan to stick around for a while. But should The New York Times cease to operate or move the page, readers can contact SAA Publications and we can share a screenshot of the capture. Over time, we hope all SAA authors, including those writing for The American Archivist and Archival Outlook, begin using the service. There is no cost—and future generations of readers will thank us for thinking of them!

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