UK Web Archive blog

Information from the team at the UK Web Archive, the Library's premier resource of archived UK websites

The UK Web Archive, the Library's premier resource of archived UK websites

04 October 2022

iPres report: a simple workshop exercise using Robust Links 

By Eilidh MacGlone, Web Archivist, National Library of Scotland

Inspiration at iPres
I had the opportunity to attend iPres 2022, an international conference dedicated to digital preservation. One of the sessions - Robust Links - run by the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), really sparked ideas for me. Robust Links offers anyone the opportunity to make links more permanent and less susceptible to 'link rot'. You add a link and it offers several options, one being to link to a 'memento' version of the web page.

It initially seemed out of reach, a bit too technical; but, listening, I recalled using glitch. It is a platform which can handle JavaScript and style sheets. I have known about Robust Links for a few years, but it delighted me to have it function in a page I built. This step was valuable to me: it helped me phrase the question I need to ask within my own organisation. 

NLS workshop
I was therefore inspired to include Robust Links in this workshop exercise for National Library of Scotland staff. I asked attendees to create another category for an imaginary "Scottish Music collection". I built this with websites we already collect. I was going to share this as a document file, but it became a web page following a quick refresher on HTML. 

Screenshot of the 'scottish music collection' website 

In this way, Robust Links create a kind of distributed collection through “archived near” links without the risk of cutting each other off. Legal deposit items have to be read by one person at a time, which can make a task that shares the same titles a little tricky. It also gives us the chance to talk about how the new categories interact with the original list. Here were our results: 

Screenshot of the results section of the 'scottish music collection' website

It was also a starting point for retrieving information through public directories. These included OSCR, the charities register for Scotland and the Companies House register. Finally, it is a kind of crowd sourcing exercise. More than a quarter (six out of twenty one) were not in the archive. 

Colleagues gave positive feedback about our workshop, and this exercise. I plan to continue developing the idea and would love to hear from anyone making their own version.