Project meeting, 19 December 2013, minutes

Project meeting

19 December 2013

Present: Jonathan Blaney [minutes], Josh Cowls, Helen Hockx-Yu, Ralph Schroeder, Peter Webster, Jane Winters

Apologies were received from Eric Meyer

1 Collaboration agreements


It was noted that the start date is very soon but there is no flexibility on this.


The template is the Brunswick Agreement, a standard format for inter-university agreements. This will need to be run by institutions’ legal departments. There is no apparent deadline for the agreement and that we can start work without it being signed.


Open access was discussed, and it was agreed to consider it but not to reduce publication options unduly. All agreed that they were keen to publish in general. This is also a means of dissemination and may pave the way to further projects. Helen Hockx-Yu is co-editing a special issue of Alexandria, on web archiving. The group has undertaken to produce a monograph and two articles, but the more the better of the latter. The BL is planning annual publications on its archiving work and the OII’s surveys of the internet would also be of interest here. There will be an interesting overlap between methodology and practical discovery;the annual or biennial survey is a good model.

2 Job descriptions and recruitment

We have budgeted for 15 months for the post-doctoral post, but they won’t be in place immediately. Directly employed people are auditable so timesheets must be kept. The BL needs to write a job profile and advertisement text.

3 Project workshops


There is commitment to a workshop in month 2 (February 2014) to attract researchers. This will not be presenting new things but introductions to the project and talk about the earlier Jisc projects to give a sense of the possibilities. Someone from AADDA will be asked to present their work. We can invite attendees and have open slots as well. It would be great to involve the AADDA researchers who worked hard for us: see the project blog for details and the AADDA prototype. It was suggested that we show a listing of sites that have disappeared from the live web. The date 26 February was agreed. This could be advertised to OII Masters and PhD students: £2,000 would be a big incentive. It was agreed to leave the possibility of a second round open in case there are not sufficient applications. The group agreed that, within reason, other unpaid researchers could be accommodated if willing to work on the project for free.
A tighter feedback cycle than AADDA was suggested: five or six cycles. We will ask applicants to submit an application and peer review them, but we could invite some of the researchers from AADDA.
The second workshop is down for month 15, but if we hold it in December 2014 it will tie with a meeting of the Research infrastructure for the Study of Archived Web materials (RESAW) and we could have two days with day 1 RESAW and day 2 a workshop on BUDDAH. The OII is happy to have it in Oxford.


Regarding where the person is based in the BL’s split-site structure, the group agreed that London would be preferable.

4 Project website

The site should be kept simple; it’s just a project website; all the tools will be elsewhere, although training materials will go there. Some material could go on the UKWA website. A WordPress site, which will be at, has been started. Additionally things could be hosted at the OII. All project members would be given access to the website. Contributors can and should blog on other topics, not just the project. It would be trivial to draw material from the WordPress site to the OII site. The group agreed that dedicated Twitter feeds are not best suited to this type of project and agreed to using existing channels instead. A montage of doors was agreed as a banner image for the project site.

5 Publicity

Publicity for the project can draw on the two Jisc projects that prefigured it. An announcement at the IHR will probably just mention the project, but won’t be a press release, but the BL could do the work and release it jointly with the IHR. It was agreed that an announcement can go on the OII website.

6 Advisory board

There will be two meetings, in months 6 and 12. These will be used for reporting purposes. The number of members is unspecified but should be no more than 12. Names of those who might be approached were suggested.

7 Schedule of meetings

The group agreed to one meeting a month for the first six months (not Wednesdays), and that afternoons are probably better. They should alternate between the three institutions. The group agreed to three virtual meetings and one in each place.

8 Any other business


The OII is keen to get started on the book and have the data. The bibliography on the IIPCC was recommended for initial reading. It was agreed that there needs to be at least one chapter on the pre-1996 web and the fact that it hasn’t been captured. One chapter needs to be a delineation of what exists. There are questions about scope, how are domains in the UK defined? i.e. what is the UK web space? A technical history such as file format and distributions of sites across the domains should be included. There are already visualisations of the dataset and for the available open datasets. There is a question of what is the relationship between a domain and a site, relationship between organisations and domains, eg with international organisations? Unstitutional history will be very interesting. The BBC must be covered and social media would also need to be covered. The move from text to images in the development of the archive is also an important topic. It was suggested that for each chapter of the book there could be an online try-it-yourself web page accompanying the chapter.


Josh Cowls has written an article on deletion of web content by the Convervatives and Labour, covering what deletion really means and also raising the question of how people think about archives. This would make a very good ready-made case study. There was interest in doing a commemorations case study on WW1. The group needs to start thinking soon about how to organise access to the data; the BL can now do the index in hours or a few days and the data is now 100% indexed, so the UI will be publicly available (see above).


It was agreed that the group should be kept updated at the project meetings.


The group agreed that it should be made a condition on the researchers that they provide so many thousand words.