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BlogForever: Digital Preservation of the Social Web


The University of Warwick contributes to a collaborative EU funded BlogForever project that aims to develop robust facilities for digital preservation, management and dissemination of weblogs. Weblogs constitute a young and dynamic media type which has become firmly established as a web based communications tool. But despite this fast growth of the weblog community there is still no effective solution for ubiquitous semantic weblog archiving, digital preservation and dissemination. Current weblog archiving tools and methods are ineffective and inconsistent, disregarding volatility and content correlation issues, while preservation methods for weblog data have not yet been duly considered. Indeed, existing Web Archiving solutions do not provide sufficient means for preserving constantly changing content of weblogs. Contrary to past or recent web archiving initiatives, BlogForever is aiming to address this gap and guarantee the timely extraction of the most relevant content of the Blogosphere in an unprecedented way.

BlogForever project focuses on developing solutions to capture the dynamic and continuously evolving nature of weblogs. Unlike other solutions for web archiving, BlogForever will allow preservation of network and social structures of weblogs, and the exchange of concepts and ideas that they foster.

The funding of the project is provided within the European Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) with a total budget of the project exhiding 4 million euros (£3.5 million). The implementation of the BlogForever project involves a consortium of 12 academic and corporate institutions. The project strives to combine and utilise the multidisciplinary skills, expertise, and ongoing work of each of the partner. The partnership enables drawing in the knowledge and skills from the areas of weblog analytics, web semantics, social networks and online preservation.

The Intelligent and Adaptive Systems (IAS) Research Group in the Department of Computer Science plays a leading role in implementation of the project. The founding members of the IAS group – Dr Alexandra Cristea and Dr Mike Joy – are directing the project from the side of Warwick University. The expertise accumulated at IAS will be put to work to study the structure, semantics and the social importance of weblogs. It will directly feed into the design and development of the aggregation and preservation solutions and support the take-up and exploitation of the project’s outputs.

The successful implementation of the project is bound to timely submission of deliverables and achievement of objectives comprised into six Work Packages (WP). The University of Warwick is leading the second package (WP2) that includes: a survey of weblog authors and readers, development of a data model and weblog ontologies, as well as methods and techniques for data extraction and spam filtering. The first results of the project that summarise the current authoring practices, technologies used in the Blogosphere and bloggers views on the issues of preservation will be made available by September 2011. The completion of the project, with the submission of the freely available solutions for preservation and dissemination of weblogs, is planned for August 2012.

The participation of IAS in the BlogForever initiative has a great potential to further extend the expertise and open up opportunities for future funding and academic events for the department. More information about the BlogForever project can be found on BlogForever.eu

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