Maintenance of legacy URLs in publications

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Maintenance of legacy URLs in publications

Aslam, Ersal
Hi everyone,

Does anyone have any experience or a policy in place for legacy urls
that have appeared in published papers of their faculty?  Through
countless server upgrades, cms migrations, and DNS changes, we are
carrying a lot of debt due to faculty who have had a specific URL
published in a paper or journal eons ago.  We have been able to
accommodate with various forms of aliases and redirects, but our
exception lists just keeps on growing.  I'm not looking to pick a
fight with a tenured faculty, but at what point is it acceptable to
let a URL sunset or 404?  Anyone else had to deal with this before or
are your faculty more reasonable/acceptable towards change?

Thanks,

Ersal Aslam
Director of Web Services, Design, and Usability
New Jersey Institute of Technology
(973) 596-5303


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Re: Maintenance of legacy URLs in publications

Michael Bazeley
We're building something on top of this: https://perma.cc

Michael

-- 
Michael Bazeley
Director, Communications
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
www.law.berkeley.edu
510-643-8010

On Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 1:39 PM, Aslam, Ersal <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi everyone,

Does anyone have any experience or a policy in place for legacy urls
that have appeared in published papers of their faculty?  Through
countless server upgrades, cms migrations, and DNS changes, we are
carrying a lot of debt due to faculty who have had a specific URL
published in a paper or journal eons ago.  We have been able to
accommodate with various forms of aliases and redirects, but our
exception lists just keeps on growing.  I'm not looking to pick a
fight with a tenured faculty, but at what point is it acceptable to
let a URL sunset or 404?  Anyone else had to deal with this before or
are your faculty more reasonable/acceptable towards change?

Thanks,

Ersal Aslam
Director of Web Services, Design, and Usability
New Jersey Institute of Technology
<a href="tel:%28973%29%20596-5303" value="+19735965303">(973) 596-5303


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Re: Maintenance of legacy URLs in publications

Gregg Banse
In reply to this post by Aslam, Ersal

Ersal,

I dealt with a similar issue though not at the scale you're talking about. What we did was to send out several notices to faculty over a 6 month period (1 a month for the first 3 months then every 2 weeks for the last 3 months - they hated it). The notice explained the issue and gave them an option. Contact the publisher and ask the URL be changed or we'll sunset it. The cutoff for this was 5 years back. The only exceptions were published pieces that were a part of active ongoing grant or multi-contributor project. A few hiccups but it worked for the most part. 


Gregg


Gregg Banse

Director of Digital Communication Strategy

University Communications and Marketing

American University

4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

(202) 895-4978


From: Aslam, Ersal <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 4:39:06 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] Maintenance of legacy URLs in publications
 
Hi everyone,

Does anyone have any experience or a policy in place for legacy urls
that have appeared in published papers of their faculty?  Through
countless server upgrades, cms migrations, and DNS changes, we are
carrying a lot of debt due to faculty who have had a specific URL
published in a paper or journal eons ago.  We have been able to
accommodate with various forms of aliases and redirects, but our
exception lists just keeps on growing.  I'm not looking to pick a
fight with a tenured faculty, but at what point is it acceptable to
let a URL sunset or 404?  Anyone else had to deal with this before or
are your faculty more reasonable/acceptable towards change?

Thanks,

Ersal Aslam
Director of Web Services, Design, and Usability
New Jersey Institute of Technology
(973) 596-5303


You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot




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Re: Maintenance of legacy URLs in publications

J Chapman Flack
In reply to this post by Aslam, Ersal
On 09/27/2016 04:39 PM, Aslam, Ersal wrote:

> carrying a lot of debt due to faculty who have had a specific URL
> published in a paper or journal eons ago.  We have been able to
> accommodate with various forms of aliases and redirects, but our
> exception lists just keeps on growing.  I'm not looking to pick a
> fight with a tenured faculty, but at what point is it acceptable to
> let a URL sunset or 404?  Anyone else had to deal with this before or
> are your faculty more reasonable/acceptable towards change?

Hi,

I follow this list out of interest, though I'm technically an IT type
without direct web responsibilities. I'd offer a couple points, one
more philosophical, one on the pragmatic side.

On the philosophical side, well, "specific URL published in a paper
or journal eons ago" really is what it is ... that thing is now out
there, and those papers and journal articles that contain it are
among the flagship products of the whole enterprise. Realistically, if
faculty think of keeping those URLs usable as being an expectation
of the job, they kind of are being reasonable.

On 09/27/2016 04:48 PM, Gregg Banse wrote:
> Contact the publisher and ask the URL be changed or we'll sunset it.

That's an interesting avenue to pursue, but even today, a lot of
copies will be out there beyond the publisher's ability to change them.

So it's at least worth a hard look at why it seems necessary so often
to change URLs. Can things be arranged so "countless server upgrades,
cms migrations, and DNS changes" can be made without affecting
URLs of published things? Probably they'd have to be changed if
the name of the university changes, or if the name of the department
changes within the university, but how often does that happen?

Now, if a particular prof did all his research on an old Gateway
box on his desk named slytherin, and published a bunch of URLs on
that server, ok, that's kind of on the prof. Or at least, the
responsibility of the IT/web folks would be more to do outreach
and training on why that's inadvisable, before the profs publish
the paper.

But if the change is necessary because, say, there's something
about the URL structure that reveals the CMS in use, and has to
be changed because now we've picked a different CMS, that seems like
an encapsulation failure that's more on us. Not that it never happens,
but we're here in part because we're the folks with the know-how
to try to avoid it.

I promised a pragmatic suggestion too, which is simply this, if
any URL really, absolutely, positively has to be changed, how about
first confirming that the web.archive.org wayback machine has it?
If it hasn't been crawled yet, their UI currently seems to offer
the option to queue it for archival right away, which is nice.

If the resource is a simple page, that should be enough; if it's
a more elaborate collection of stuff, that might mean asking the
prof to check it on the wayback machine and confirm it's at least
minimally usable there, before killing the URL locally.

Or, if the only change is that the stuff has to be rehosted at a
changed URL, a page can be put at the old, published URL that
shows how to find it now, and that page kept there long enough for
the wayback machine to archive it, after which it can be dropped.
This seems adequate to me, as the wayback machine is one place
researchers will almost certainly check if looking at a URL that's
gone stale.

My employer now has a Research Repository run as a collaboration
between the research computing and libraries people, meant to
satisfy granting agency requirements for persistent availability,
something I imagine others are doing also. If it's necessary to
move some legacy resource, if it's possible to arrange the new
location to be the repository, at least that might be the last time
for that resource; it then falls to the strict standards of the
librarians/archivists to control what happens to it after that.

-Chap


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RE: Maintenance of legacy URLs in publications

John Wagner-2
Simple may work.  Create 1 page with all the URLs being removed listed.  If you know the new location, make them links to it.  Publish where google will find it.  Now anyone can look it up.
----
John Wagner                                          





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Re: Maintenance of legacy URLs in publications

Barber, Christopher Todd (Todd)-2
In reply to this post by Aslam, Ersal
We have created a database table that we house all of the “old” URL’s and then we created a custom 404 page that looks into that database and if it finds it, then a redirect is performed with a 301 code so at least the search engines will be updated. We just leave them in there as it doesn’t really cause any harm. That custom 404 page can be modified as needed on a per server basis to adjust for need. Just did a quick count and we have 5,554 redirects in the table.

I did set the database up so that the “old” URL has to be unique so that we never have any duplicates. It has been an effective system thus far.

todd

=======
C. Todd Barber
Director of Web Services
Information Technology Services
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
(901) 448-1471


On 9/27/16, 3:39 PM, "Aslam, Ersal" <[hidden email]> wrote:

    Hi everyone,
   
    Does anyone have any experience or a policy in place for legacy urls
    that have appeared in published papers of their faculty?  Through
    countless server upgrades, cms migrations, and DNS changes, we are
    carrying a lot of debt due to faculty who have had a specific URL
    published in a paper or journal eons ago.  We have been able to
    accommodate with various forms of aliases and redirects, but our
    exception lists just keeps on growing.  I'm not looking to pick a
    fight with a tenured faculty, but at what point is it acceptable to
    let a URL sunset or 404?  Anyone else had to deal with this before or
    are your faculty more reasonable/acceptable towards change?
   
    Thanks,
   
    Ersal Aslam
    Director of Web Services, Design, and Usability
    New Jersey Institute of Technology
    (973) 596-5303
   




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To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot