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IIPC 2023 – Presentation Slides

May was a big month for the Perma team! Matteo and Clare traveled to The Netherlands for the annual IIPC Web Archiving Conference in Hilversum. 

Both of them presented work from this past year relating to the new Perma Tools suite. Matteo’s talk focused on the opportunities and challenges of client side playback, as well as more topics from the technical perspective of Perma Tools. The day before, Clare shared reflections and updates from a collaboration with the Radcliffe Institute’s Schlesinger Library to implement wacz-exhibitor for their #MeToo collection.

Keep an eye out for more reflections and updates from Hilversum, and feel free to check out our slides from the conference!

Opportunities and Challenges of Client Side Playback | Matteo

Collaborating on the Cutting Edge | Clare

New Release: High Fidelity Capture Engine for Witnessing the Web 🍨

This week the Perma team is releasing new software that is a building block for any individual or organization creating a web archive. Scoop is a highly-tunable single page capture library that prioritizes fidelity and provenance, drawing on our decade of experience archiving citations for law journals and courts.      

When designing Scoop, we focused on making high-quality, signed web captures that you can take with you and host anywhere you want, while still being able to verify where they came from.

Why does that matter? Because we want to update how people talk to each other — and convince each other — about what content has been on the web.

We’ve all seen them: the contextless, but authentic-looking screenshot tweeted out to thousands of followers and proliferated throughout different networks, often jumping platforms. 

Media literacy and years of experience seeing photoshopped or faked content could help you parse what is real and what is fake, but the more time we spend on the internet and seek our news there, the more we will fall victim to inauthentic web content. Given the state of information on the web, this is likely to only get worse, not better. 

Our IT departments and savvy-minded friends will give us tips on how to avoid phishing scams: call the friend directly, log into your bank account via the online portal instead of clicking that link, or otherwise meet the information at its source to guarantee you’re not being duped. How do we validate authenticity, though, when the thing we’re seeking is fragile: a dynamic web page, vulnerable to link rot

We trust things that we know represent reality as much as possible, and we trust things that we know the origin of. Basically, we trust witnesses. 

Here’s the thing: running a web archive up to this point has been so complex that it is necessarily centralized. Witnessing what is on the web has come down to just a few centralized archives who are trusted to maintain their collections, whether it is the indispensable Internet Archive or our own

Even the most established archives have potential to be manipulated, and no one archive can serve all the needs our users have for web witnessing. With tools like Scoop, and others pioneered by our friends at the Webrecorder project, we don’t have to. Advances in web technology are making it more plausible to decentralize the means of web archiving throughout the entire pipeline, from creation to storage and playback. But what about that trust factor? 

Scoop is a highly-tunable single-page capture engine that has compatibility with recently crafted .wacz signing standards. As a default, extensive provenance information is included for traceability and transparency. Additionally, as a guiding light in our design we captured the web under a no alterations principle, prioritizing an “as is” state over potentially smoother playbacks to strengthen the value of the record’s testimony.

Scoop is a library that can be used as a witness. Learn more about the specs on Github, and keep an eye out for stories about how this technology can be used and deep dives about its capabilities. 


Perma Links for sources in this blog post: 

Use To Preserve Twitter Threads!

The Perma team and the Library Innovation Lab has been following the story of Twitter just as closely as everyone else on the web. After conversations with friends of the lab and various colleagues working to document Twitter’s digital history, we have put together a small scale experiment to help preserve threads from the site in a safe and reliable way. 

We welcome users to try out

What exactly is it?

It’s a website that lets you download signed PDFs of Twitter URLs. Here’s an example PDF we made from this tweet.You can download them onto your computer to save, share, and serve them as you’d like. 

What do I need to do to use it? 

Not much! As you create the .pdf we do ask for the “reason” you’re preserving something. We are asking to get a sense of whether the tool is being used and a gut check on if it’s helping users in the ways we think it is. It’s fine to use the same answer for each pdf! 

But that’s all! Just visit to get started. We do encourage you to give some thought to where you plan to store the pdf’s. Perma Social is a generator tool, not a storage tool, so you’ll need to keep these safe and accessible if you want to use them.

Why did we make it?

There are lots of screenshots of Twitter threads going around. Some are real, some are fake. You can’t tell who made them, or when they were made.

PDFs let us apply document signatures and timestamps so anyone can check, in the future, that a PDF you download with this site really came from the Harvard Library Innovation Lab and hasn’t been edited.

PDFs also let us bundle in additional media as attachments. Each signed PDF currently includes all images in the page (so you can see full size images that are cropped in the PDF view), the primary video on the page if any, as well as a list of all the links on the thread and their actual destinations.

Plus, as with all of our experiments, also has the meta goal of understanding the field we’re working in with more depth and pull learnings into our longer scope projects. 

If you have any questions or suggestions please reach out! 


New Feature: Default Playback View

Perma records can now have a default view for users opening the Perma Link. 

When playing back a record there are sometimes preferred ways to view the results, in order to encompass the appropriate information the creator is wanting to convey. Playing back web archives is a tricky business, and sometimes different approaches offer slightly different results. For example, depending on what the Perma Link is being used for, it may or may not be relevant if ads are fully playing back in the archive. 

There are already multiple options for viewing a Perma Link, but until now a user had to manually navigate to the alternate one. Now link creators can set the default view for when a link is opened. 

The steps are easy: simply open the Perma Link and access the drop down menu called “Record Details” in the upper left hand corner of the blue banner: 

Then, simply select the default view for this particular Perma Link. When a reader clicks on this link it will automatically play back the way you have set. 

In the past, link creators could send readers to the screenshot via altering the URL. With this new feature you can switch this setting whenever you’d like, the link will not change!

To share feedback or get in touch, reach out to

New and Improved Perma Plug-In for Chrome!

Check out our new extension for Chrome! 

Now you can seamlessly create Perma Links without interrupting the flow of your browsing. Just install the free plugin via the Chrome store and you’ll be able to connect to your account. 

You log into this browser extension via your API key, which can be found in the tools section of your dashboard.

Once you enter your key into the extension you will be able to start creating Perma Links right as you are browsing.

When you are on a page that you’d like to archive, simply open the extension, select the folder you’d like the link to be affiliated with, and click “archive this page.”

Progress will be shown at the bottom of the tray, along with a list of any other captures that have been made of that URL on your account. 

When you’re done working on your project and would like to see your Perma Links, they will display as normal on your dashboard. 

For a live walk through, you can check out this Youtube video.

New Playback Software Improves Fidelity of your Perma Links

We are thrilled to announce the deployment of Perma’s latest update to improve the fidelity of playbacks for our collection. Going forward, the standard playback for Perma Links will be done using Webrecorder’s

There are three major components of web archiving work: gathering the information to create a record (capturing), keeping the records safe for future use (storage), and reconfiguring the collected information into a viewable format (replaying).

This integration of Webrecorder technology is the latest in a series of improvements the Perma team has been working on to enhance the reliability and fidelity of all Perma Links on both the capture and playback side. You can learn more about Webrecorder’s work and this particular technology on their blog

Next time you view a Perma Link you will see a new portion of the blue banner at the top of a record. “View Mode” settings allow you to select which version of the playback software you would like to view the Perma Link with. 

The Standard mode now uses the new version of the playback software. 

Legacy view mode uses the older playback software, and is still available as we roll this update out. 

Additionally, you can still view a Screenshot of the Perma record when one is available. As always, this mode contains a static image rather than the high fidelity playback. 

Have questions or feedback about this update? Reach out to us at!

Usage Plans Updates

A few years ago, we announced that was opening up access to our platform for users outside of the academic and legal community. We have loved seeing who was interested in joining our network and using the tool!

As we have broadened access to outside of our core academic users, we have been working to create modest, paid Usage Plans that balance the needs of our users with the ongoing investment makes in long term digital preservation. Here is the current state of affairs for users who are hoping to make Perma Links and don’t have an affiliation with one of our library partners.

Making a Perma Account

Anybody can create a Perma account for free and immediately gain access to 10 trial links. We created this option to give people the chance to try Perma for free to make sure it fits their needs.

Beyond those ten trial links users can continue creating Perma Links in one of two ways:

Option 1: Become associated with a Perma partner institution – we call them Registrars. There is no cost to individual users to user Perma through a Registrar. Types of Registrar accounts include academic libraries, U.S. Courts, nonprofits, newspapers, and commercial companies. 

By the way, there is no charge for academic libraries and US-based courts to become Perma partners. Organizations who don’t qualify for free accounts have the option to pay a subscription fee to maintain a Registrar and provide Perma at no charge to their staff or community. 

Option 2: Pay for an Individual Usage Plan. Paid plans are available to any individual user and can be accessed through their dashboard once a user has created their account.

Usage Plans

Option 1: Individuals not affiliated with a Registrar can sign up for a Personal Subscription that will release a set number of links to be created each month to their Personal Links folder. This count does not roll over month to month. Billing recurs on the first of each month, or annually.

This option works best for individuals who have a consistent need to create Perma Links for their work.

Image of personal subscription options. 10 links per month cost $10 per month. 100 links per month cost $25 per month. 500 links per month cost $100 per month.

Option 1: Personal Subscription

Option 2: A One-Time Purchase of additional links. Users with or without subscriptions can purchase additional links, which can be used at any time, regardless of Personal Subscription status. This link count will roll over month to month. Billing occurs at the moment of purchase and does not recur.

This option works well if a user with a Personal Subscription has the need to create more links than their allotment in a particular month, or a user who has a more sporadic need to create Perma Links.

Image of one time purchase options. 10 additional links cost $15. 100 additional links cost $30. 500 additional links cost $125.

Option 2: One-Time Purchase


Please note that subscription status only affects a user’s ability to create new links. If a subscription ends all previously created Perma records will continue to be accessible and preserved as part of our collection. 

Both Sides of Impeachment Trial Will Be On The Right Side of History(ical Preservation)

This past weekend lawyers from both the House of Representatives and the White House filed initial documents for the ongoing Senate impeachment trial.

The team was thrilled to see that after collaboration over the past few months with both offices, their documents submitted to Senate contain Perma Links for their web citations. You can see House of Representatives’ trial memorandum here, and an archived version of it here. The President’s is available online here, and archived here.

Now, as these documents enter the historical record, we can be confident that their references to the web will remain stable and available.

As Alex Howard (@digiphile) pointed out, this is a BFD for posterity.

[archived at]

This development is an exciting one, and is representative of the growth in the Perma network. A search of Westlaw reveals that adoption of Perma in our courts has been picking up speed lately. 77% of the 1,000+ briefs that have been filed in state and federal courts since 2013 were filed in the last three years. Of the nearly 1,500 court opinions published using Perma in the past six years, 76% of them have appeared since 2017.

In 2019 alone there were over 350 briefs filed with links from and almost 500 opinions published with Perma Links.

We hope this trend will continue upwards. If you are interested in learning more about for your law firm or court to prevent link rot please check out our website and get in touch with us at

Link Rot Isn’t Unique to the Legal Field

Journalism – like scholarship – relies on citation, primary information, and credibility. sprung up as a direct answer to a problem identified in legal scholarship: originally a tool in the fight legal link rot, and it has become a staple in the lives of many law students as they write for their journals and even after they leave school.

It’s important to note, though, that the basis of our code – literally and figuratively – is not unique to the legal field. While we’re a team of librarians and coders who work in a law library, the tools we build are for everyone.

Link rot is a not a issue unique to the law world: as we started exploring our user base outside of academia, one of the first user groups that came to the forefront was journalists, for whom link rot is a problem from many angles.

For an industry that in many ways now relies on click counts and interconnected content for revenue streams and user statistics, there are hang ups when it comes to freezing web content in the way that does. Nonetheless, it is an issue that should be considered as part of the journalistic ecosystem.

As you can see in this article from The Atlantic authors do not have a singular approach to web references. This particular article, published less than a year and a half ago, contains 25 linked citations. One of them is a Perma record, which has preserved a copy of a criminal procedure law will be available to readers in the long term. It makes sense for that particular citation to be frozen in time, as it is important to capture the law at that very moment it is referenced, not what it may be in the future. 23 of the other 24 links still send readers to a live source, for now. They are largely links to other news sites and in the short term having live links works well. One link however found in the fifth paragraph – which cites a study that is a central aspect of the article’s argument – leads readers to a 404 error page.

The story is the same with this article, also less than a year and a half old, from Time that has a 404 error on a link to their own website. On the flip side, in the first paragraph, the author uses a Perma Link to reference an event held at her alma mater’s church. That decision proved to be a wise one, since that link no longer works. Other URLs send readers to sites that are currently live, but obviously are vulnerable.

For journalists, it is interesting to see what type of content is viewed as stable (other news organizations – despite frequent site restructuring like is seen at Time) versus ephemeral (calendar listings).

Are you a journalist? Where are these lines for you? What do you consider ephemeral versus stable when you’re citing the web? Does your newsroom have rules when it comes to maintaining click tracking? Do you take link rot into consideration at all as you choose your internet sources?


Canadian Guide to Legal Citation: now recommending

The Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation, 9th ed, a.k.a. the “McGill Guide” now strongly recommends!

“In an effort to prevent link rot (broken links or pages in the future), when you cite to an item found online, you must provide a Permanent or Archived URL after the regular URL in square brackets. A permanent link (also called a Permalink or Archived link) is a URL that is intended to maintain permanence for many years despite the changes to links on a website that may occur in the future.  The McGill Guide strongly recommends the Perma.CC system to create permanent links where none is provided by the site you are citing.”

Read more here.  The McGill Guide other style guides including The Bluebook: a Uniform System of Legal Citation and the Chicago Manual of Style in recommending for the preservation of URLs in citations.

Do you have a account yet to keep your links from rotting? Sign up here!

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