Sam Wilson's Website

December 2021

  1. By .

    I think the indieweb is a bit like (what I imagine about) ham radio: to get into it, you have to first build your rig. A personal website is a thing to be tinkered with and built over time, but there's a definite watershed point at which it becomes a usable tool to talk on the indieweb. (My own site is not quite there yet!) I'm hopeful to reach the goal of being able to both read posts from others and reply to them, all without leaving my own site. This seems like it'll follow something like the following process (if wanting to write about a given topic such as 'indieweb'):

    • I write a post on my website and add a syndication to some aggregator, e.g. https://news.indieweb.org/en .
    • Adding the syndication triggers a webmention to be sent (webmentions will also be sent for any URLs in the post, but the syndication is important because it's what the aggregator will look for).
    • The aggregator will receive a webmention about the post, and add the post to its feed. This give the post its own URL within the aggregator, which then needs to be used to update the syndication on the post.
    • I follow various feeds within my website, such as this aggregator, and so I can see my post appear there after some amount of time.
    • If I see a (different) post that I want to repost or reply to, it is first copied into my website (with all its own metadata). This creates a new syndication of that post, and I'm not really sure how one tells that post about it (I guess a webmention, but how's it know that it's a mention of itself?).
    • This post is then also included in my own outgoing feed, but it only ever shows its original URL so no one should ever end up reading it on my site (unless they're actually on my site). This means that the same post can show up in different feeds, but that's the point.
    • A reply or repost is a new post on my site, with its own new URL and other metadata, and in other ways operates exactly like any other post.
    • If someone replies or reposts elsewhere, that post will be picked up in the same way (i.e. it will be in some feed, and so can be copied to my site as before).

    There are lots of parts of this that I don't really know yet, but it feels like there's a functioning system in there somewhere. The major issue I see is the one of copying other posts into my site — this feels a bit rude in some ways, and doesn't handle edits at all, and doesn't have a solid way of dealing with embedded posts such as images. The former I think can be solved by very prominently linking to the original and not showing the full text, and the latter by also importing images as their own posts.

  2. By Laura Braunstein @laurabrarian.

    next time someone approaches my team wanting to "make a digital archive" I'm just going to paste this in as an autoreply (from @archiviststan and @professorcaz "Critical Digital Archives: A Review from Archival Studies") https://doi.org/10.1093/ahr/rhab359

    We begin with the topic of materiality and infrastructure. From an archival studies perspective, digital archives are material problems—that is, they warrant a serious commitment to creating and maintaining material infrastructure. What many historians and digital humanities scholars call a "digital archive" would make archivists balk; scanned documents simply placed on a personal website, a hard drive, or—even worse from an archival perspective—a proprietary social media account do not constitute a "digital archive" unless there is a plan for preserving them across space and time, maintaining the context of their creation through metadata, and ensuring continual access to present and future users. For archivists, preservation and description are key ingredients in making a collection of records "archival". Both of these archival functions require material infrastructure and labor.