Monday, 17 December 2012

Case Studies in Web Sustainability

A new article has been published in Ariadne on the work done at the University of Northampton on web sustainability.

Turner S (2012) . "Case Studies in Web Sustainability". November 2012Ariadne Issue 70 ISSN: 1361-3200

At the moment organisations often make significant investments in producing Web-based material, often funded through public money, for example from JISC. But what happens when some of those organisations are closed or there  is no longer any money or resources to host the site? We are seeing cuts in funding or changes in governmental policy, which is resulting in the closure of some of these organisations.
What happens to those Web resources when the organisations are no longer in existence? Public money has often been used to develop these resources - from that perspective it would be a shame to lose them.
Moreover, the resources might be needed or someone may actually want to take over the maintenance of the site at a later date. How do we make these sites more sustainable? Is there any way we can move sites to somewhere that is free to host the Web pages, and can be left there or modified when needed? JISC previously funded three projects to look at this area through a programme called Sustaining ‘at risk’ online resources. One of these projects, which ran at The University of Northampton, looked into ‘rescuing’ one of the recently closed East Midlands Universities Association’s online resources. This resource, called East Midlands Knowledge Network (EMKN), lists many of the knowledge transfer activities of 10 of the East Midlands universities. The project looked at options on how to migrate the site to a free hosting option to make it make it more sustainable even when it is no longer available on the original host’s servers.
This article looks at this work as a case study on Web sustainability and also included a case study of another project where Web sustainability was central.


I am grateful to Amber Thomas (who also has an article in this edition of Ariadne) and the JISC Infrastructure for Education and Research Programme: Geospatial (15/10) for providing the funding for the initial project for the East Midlands University Agency. My thanks go to Ahsan Andersen for the STEM Northamptonshire work as well as to the Nuffield Science Bursaries Scheme for its support.

Full text of this article can be found at: 

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