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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 example, provide access to project deliverables for end users; could provide information about the project; could be for use by project partners; etc. A policy for preservation will be dependent of the role of the Web site.

2 Have A URI Naming Policy

Before launching your Web site you should develop a URI naming policy. Ideally you should contain the project Web site within its own directory, which will allow the project Web site to be processed (e.g. harvested) separately from other resources on the Web site.

3 Think Carefully Before Having Split Web Sites

The preservation of a Web site which is split across several locations may be difficult to implement. However also bear in mind tip 4.

4 Think About Separating Web Site Functionality

On the other hand it may be desirable to separate the functionality of the Web site, to allow, for example, information resources to be processed independently of other aspects of the Web site. For example, the search functionality of the Web site could have its own sub-domain,(e.g. which could allow the information resources (under to be processed separately.

5 Make Use Of Open Standards

You should seek to make use of open standard formats for your Web site. This will help you to avoid lock-in to proprietary formats for which access may not be available in the future. However you should also be aware of possible risks and resource implications in using open standards.

6 Explore Potential For Exporting Resources From A CMS

You should explore the possibility of exporting resources from a backend database or Content Management Systems in a form suitable for preservation. When procuring a CMS you should seek to ensure that such functionality is available.

7 Be Aware Of Legal, IPR, etc. Barriers To Preservation

You need to be aware of various legal barriers to preservation. For example, do you own the copyright of resources to be preserved; are there IPR issues to consider; are confidential documents (such as project budgets, minutes of meetings, mailing list archives, etc.) to be preserved; etc.

8 Ensure Institutional Records Managers Provide Input

You should ensure that staff from your institution's records management teams provide input into policies for the preservation of Web site resources.

9 Provide Documentation

You should provide technical documentation on your Web site which will allow others to preserve your Web site and to understand any potential problem areas. You should also provide documentation on your policy of preservation.

10 Share Your Experiences

Learn from the experiences of others. For example read the case study on Providing Access to an EU-funded Project Web Site after Completion of Funding [1] and the briefing document on Mothballing Web Sites [2].


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