Archiving scholarly blogs with Rogue Scholar

A photograph taken in the main room of the internet archive. backlit through 3 big windows, one can see the pews in the foreground The pews of the Internet Archive back in 2018.

tl;dr: Posts on this blog are now automatically archived, indexed and full-text searchable through The Rogue Scholar.

The jury might still be out on whether the small or indie web will make a comeback, but I’ve personally enjoyed posting more on my blog here in recent months. Partially, this is because I wanted to make own small contributions to keeping the open web alive. Having at least some of the stuff I post under a roof that I have more control over and can move (compared to the walled gardens of commercial social media) seemed like a good way to do that.

I have used that opportunity to also do a little spring cleaning and to give this page some love: In addition to revamping the dynamic footer of this site, I have also updated/fixed the machine readable metadata for these pages, alongside its RSS feed. Which had the added benefit of now being compatible with The Rogue Scholar – an effort run by Martin Fenner – to ensure that the the posts here will not fall victim to link rot.

By ingesting the full-text RSS feeds, The Rogue Scholar generates its own full-text searchable database of the posts from participating blogs, and also automatically archives those posts in the Internet Archive. But the real treat is that The Rogue Scholar also creates DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) for each post that it indexes. DOIs can resolve to whatever the current path to a given object is, which is handy when domain names change or different blog software changes the URL structure. This in itself already goes a long way to avoid link rot. But more importantly, DOIs can also be used to transparently redirect to the archival versions on the Internet Archive, which would trigger in case this website would ever disappear without me hosting another version anywhere else.

If you’re doing any kind of scholarly or science blogging, you might want to consider setting this up for your own page too. The Rogue Scholar has some great documentation of the requirements, which you might even be able side-step as a whole range of common blog systems are compatible out of the box. And unless you publish more than 50 posts a year, having your posts archived is free. Afterwards it’s $1 per post (as registering DOIs costs is not free either).

Bastian Greshake Tzovaras

Bastian Greshake Tzovaras

Generally, things are better if you put open* in front of them.

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