[rfc-i] Can the web be archived?

Sean Leonard dev+ietf at seantek.com
Wed Jan 21 08:47:55 PST 2015

+1 (mostly)

I think that the RFC editor should make a cached facsimile (I avoid the 
word "copy") of the content and store it locally, possibly offline in a 
secure office or something.

For documents that do not have a permissive copyright, just keep the 
document offline and allow parties to request looking at the facsimile 
in the office (or at IETF meetings) without making a new copy.

I suppose that one could make a fair-use argument for this purpose. I am 
not making that argument--that is up to the IETF's lawyers--but honestly 
nobody is really going to sue the IETF or anyone else if this is done 
selectively on an as-needed basis and the facsimiles are limited to 
archival purposes offline.

I do not think that creating a new URI for the content is necessary. The 
original URI and the last accessed date are sufficient. In the legal 
community, when URIs are cited, the citation includes a "last accessed 
date"; these pieces of information are sufficient to identify the 
content as an historical fact (see the Blue Book).

If you want to get all nerdy, you can include the most salient HTTP 
headers (Content-Type, Content-Length) and cryptographic hash (e.g., 
SHA-256) in some archive related to the RFC. I would not advocate 
putting such information in the published RFC itself.


On 1/21/2015 4:53 AM, Henning G Schulzrinne wrote:
> A roughly similar problem is faced by some regulatory entities. A 
> simple remedy is to submit critical, but possibly evanescent, 
> resources "into the record", i.e., they are hosted at the regulatory 
> entity itself, in what we would recognize as "fate sharing". This only 
> works for material with permissive copyright (CC and similar), but I 
> suspect this can be worked around in many cases. I wouldn't worry 
> about this for citations to material published by major 
> engineering/science societies (ACM, IEEE). Even if one were to go 
> under, it seems likely that somebody else would pick up the content 
> and maintain the DOIs.
> Thus, the RFC editor could host such content locally, possibly as 
> PDF/A files, and created a reasonable URL scheme (maybe a DOI).
> Henning

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