The perenniality of your content on Hypotheses

This article presents the actions taken by OpenEdition to guarantee the perenniality of your content published on Hypotheses. It also offers a few tips and best practices.

Secure storage of my blog content

Ensuring that your content is regularly backed up and stored in the most secure conditions possible is one of the services offered on Hypotheses. OpenEdition implements a backup policy for your blog files, and develops mechanisms to check the integrity of each copy. This policy is regularly updated in line with technological developments. Here are the main aspects:

  • Our servers are located in France, in the In2P3 computing centre, which is a CNRS Support and Research Unit.
  • A backup on magnetic tape is made every night.
  • We store multiple backups of each blog on our servers for a period of three months.
  • In addition to a backup on magnetic tape, all the blog databases (their contents as well as the logs) are also backed up once a day. This means that at any given time Hypotheses team can find the Hypotheses backup for any day in the last three months.
Photograph of an OpenEdition server rack,
Photograph of an OpenEdition server rack, by Bruno Cénou

Even so, there is no such thing as 0 risk. Unfortunately, incidents such as hardware failures cannot be avoided. However, the loss of content is an extremely rare event and is always minimised thanks to the various backups. In addition to the backup actions carried out by OpenEdition and the initiatives of various web archiving players, there are several good practices that you can put in place to ensure that you do not lose your content. In particular, you can keep multiple copies, on different devices, of your articles and media, while favouring the most widely used, free and/or open technologies. Don’t hesitate to export your XML files on a regular basis.

This feature is available in your blog dashboard via the Tools > Export menu.

Archiving elsewhere on the web

Several databases index certain blogs, according to their own criteria, and reference them in web archives. We present the two main ones here, but you should bear in mind that the choices made are not those of Hypotheses or OpenEdition.

Most Hypotheses research blogs are indexed in the Wayback Machine of the American foundation Internet Archive. The Wayback Machine allows you to look back at a website at different times (in 2024, 835 billion pages were indexed).

Screenshot of a search in the Wayback Machine of Internet Archive

The legal deposit of the web (a service provided by the Bibliothèque national de France – BnF) has a heritage mission of collecting and preserving publications produced in France. Unlike paper publications, which are collected exhaustively, digital collections are carried out on the basis of representativeness and sampling, as exhaustiveness is impossible.

Only certain Hypotheses research blogs are present in the web’s legal deposit (in February 2023, 439 blogs were available in the legal deposit, 387 of them following their current annual collection). These are selected on the basis of the implementation of specific thematic campaigns (e.g. on climate change or artificial intelligence) or on the basis of alerts issued by a partner library. These collections vary in depth. It is a long term archive (according to the SPAR system) carried out for heritage purposes.

A copy of the blogs visited is then kept in the web’s legal deposit, which can only be consulted under certain conditions: the resources collected can only be consulted in BnF’s reading rooms or in BnF’s 24 partner libraries after a description of the personal, professional or research project motivating the consultation. Consultation of the legal deposit can be used for data mining, to produce analyses, for example, on the subject of covid-19 and in historians’ work.

Please note that apart from this web legal deposit initiative, which only concerns a few Hypotheses blogs, the platform is not subject to long-term archiving. Long-term archiving is a specific and complex process that consists of maintaining the readability of the information content of data and metadata over time. Maintaining readability may involve transformations (format conversions) in the event of obsolescence. Long-term archiving is a service offered in France by HumaNum and CINES1. HumaNum and OpenEdition have worked together on the long-term archiving of books published on OpenEdition Books.

Your blog is not subject to long-term archiving. However, its articles can be assigned DataCite DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) if your blog is registered in the OpenEdition catalogue. These permanent identifiers improve referencing in third-party databases and ensure access to the main metadata of the document in the event of its deletion.

In addition to the actions carried out by OpenEdition, you can also put in place a number of best practices to ensure the long-term future of your publications.

Keeping your content online to maintain its citability

What happens when you can no longer publish on your Hypotheses research blog or if your project is finished? You are not obliged to publish new articles at all costs. This is particularly true for blogs that are linked to a research programme. Your blog and your articles can remain online even if your editorial project has been completed and your blog is inactive.

Inactivity does not change its appearance or access to its content. After two years without a new publication, we simply display a ‘blog inactive since …’ on its bibliographic record in the OpenEdition catalogue to give readers an indication of what they are going to find. 

That’s why, should your project come to an end, we invite you to publish a final article explaining that your blog will no longer be updated2

The aim is to keep your articles accessible and preserve their integrity. With this in mind, the articles in the blog registered in the OpenEdition catalogue have been given permanent identifiers with the allocation of DataCite DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers).

Two exceptions to perenniality

There are two exceptions to maintaining an inactive blog in its original form. The first is linked to changes in the WordPress CMS and the graphic themes offered on Hypotheses. The oldest themes may over time no longer correspond to web standards, which are constantly evolving. Their development team may have stopped maintaining them or no longer intervene to resolve new bugs. If a theme becomes a source of instability and security vulnerabilities for the platform, we will have to remove it. Of course, this requires us to communicate this in advance. If you don’t have the time to change the graphic theme of your blog, don’t worry. We’ll automatically change it to a more recent theme! Your content will still be accessible, but the look of your blog may change.

The second exception concerns blogs that have never been updated several years after their creation, i.e. that have nothing more than the first article and the two pages created by default. After verification, we may have to delete them in order to lighten the load on the platform.  

The long-term survival of the publications in your Hypotheses research blog depends on a number of factors: a policy of safeguarding the integrity of the files and the data they contain, a policy of applying the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) and, lastly, the care you take yourself to ensure that your publications are reliably cited.

  1. Le C.I.N.E.S. (Centre Informatique National de l’Enseignement Supérieur) is a national public institution, based in Montpellier (France) and placed under the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI). []
  2. On this subject, you can read this post by Nathalie Casanova (2021, 7 September). Deleting your blog: issues and procedures. La Maison des carnets. Accessed on 6 March 2024 at https://doi.org/10.58079/r7h9. []

OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
Céline Guilleux (May 27, 2024). The perenniality of your content on Hypotheses. The house of blogs. Retrieved July 20, 2024 from https://doi.org/10.58079/11q2y


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