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OpenDACHS - A Citation Repository for the Sustainable Archiving of Cited Online Sources

Arnold, Lecher, Vogt: OpenDACHS Poster (2019-03)

Since the end of the last century, the Internet has become more and more important as both, publication platform, and space for social discourse. However, content published online is ephemeral and volatile. Resources may be changed, moved to different locations, or even disappear completely. On the other hand, they are of high relevance to research. Citing these online resources is an established part of the daily routines within academia.

In recent years, a growing number of studies have shown the implications of the ephemeral character of online resource citations. In the literature, these problems were coined "link rot" and "reference rot" (see, for example [Zittrain, 2013] and [Garrett, 2019]). Nevertheless, the problem has been largely neglected by researchers and funding agencies.

Two examples:

  1. In issue 1.2010 of the "Journal of Transcultural Studies" published by the Cluster of Excellence Asia and Europe only 50% of the links are still functional - the others have disappeared.
  2. The book "A Continuous Revolution" written by Barbara Mittler (Cambridge, 2012) contains 76 citations of online resources. Although more than 40 of these are no longer available online, the resources are still available. This is because for this publication a web archive in DACHS was created. there, all cited online sources can still be referred to in their original context.

OpenDACHS is an expansion of the DACHS project [Lecher, 2006]. It is a collaboration between the Digital Library of the Institute of Chinese Studies (DiBOA) and the Heidelberg Research Architecture (HRA), funded by the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies and the Centre of East Asian Studies.

OpenDACHS comprises services and workflows for researchers which allow the archiving of cited resources, generation of DOI identifiers which can be used in research publications, and creation of library catalog records for each cited resource.

OpenDACHS makes use of the .warc format, published as ISO standard 28500:2017. As webcrawler the open source software Heritrix is used, which was published by the Internet Archive. The individual archived records can be viewed with tools like the Wayback Machine.


Garrett, Jeffrey. 2019. „An Evaluation of Web Archiving Programs in the U.S. Relevant to International and Area Studies - The Example of Latin America  and the Caribbean“. Center for Research Libraries, Global Resources Network. doi://10.13140/RG.2.2.23094.34885.

Lecher, Hanno. 2006. "Small scale academic Web archiving" In: Julien Masanès (ed.), Web Archiving. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer, 2006.

Zittrain, Jonathan L., Kendra Albert, und Lawrence Lessig. 2013. „Perma: Scoping and Addressing the Problem of Link and Reference Rot in Legal Citations“. SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 2329161. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.