Content Preservation: A Few Ethical Rules to Help Preserve Material Published on Blogs (and, More Generally, on the Interwebs)

Content published on blogs can disappear in the blink of an eye. And once it's gone, it's gone. If an author fails to renew her hosting arrangement or domain-name ownership (no matter what the reason), the chances are that her content will eventually disappear from the web, along with her backups.

And when that happens, content does not usually magically reappear.

To avoid that, here are a few rules that should help your readers store and protect your content.

  • Have a page where all your posts are published. It doesn't matter if it’s a heavy page. Its sole purpose is to let your users hit Ctrl+ S.

  • Avoid storing your content in databases as much as you can. Databases obscure access to content. Use databases to schedule content publication or other tasks related to categorizing and organizing content, but always have your content stored in files that can be downloaded. For example, hosting your blog on Github makes it easy for people to help preserve your content.

  • Back your material up on a publicly accessible website, such as Github. If you end your project and let it go down, people will still have a way to access your work.

  • Make a monthly||yearly publication of your work in the form of a .pdf file that can be downloaded from various sources (such as your website or public repositories).

These simple rules should avoid the hassle of one day seeing seminal articles disappear into the digital abyss.

It's a young industry. It's a young medium. We haven't yet experienced our first big, resounding losses.

But that is bound to happen one day.

Let's limit the damage.