Memento: Time Travel for the Web by Professor Michael Nelson

November 10, 2010 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Room 214 Davis Library

Two opportunities to hear Professor Michael Nelson talk about Memento (, which is now on the shortlist for a Digital Preservation Award 2010 (  Very cool!!

Sponsored by UNC’s Scholarly Communications Working Group 

Alternative presentation:  Sponsored by the SILS/Metadata Research Center (Folks who cannot attend the official Scholarly Communications Working Group event, but want to hear Dr. Nelson, please contact Jane Greenberg via e-mail at, to see if there’s still room to sit in on her class as an alternative, Nov. 9th at 3:30, Manning, Room 208.)

Here’s more about Professor Nelson’s talk:

Memento: Time Travel for the Web  (see:

Michael L. Nelson, associate professor of computer science at Old Dominion University

Despite being the primary medium for our cultural and scientific record, the Web remains surprisingly ephemeral.  Many pages change over time, and most of those changes are often lost forever. A lucky few manage to are retrained for posterity, perhaps in wiki "history" lists or web archives like the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.  In both cases, the prior versions have URIs that are protocol-wise disconnected from the URI of the current resource.  Indeed, the lack of temporal capabilities in HTTP prevents getting to an archived resource on the basis of the URI of its original. This turns accessing archived resources into a significant discovery challenge for both human and software agents, navigating a series of site-specific, ad-hoc solutions.  The Memento solution adds a temporal dimension to HTTP capabilities applied in a novel way to add the temporal dimension. The result is an inter-archive framework in which archived resources can seamlessly be reached via their original URI: protocol-based time travel for the Web.

Biographical Note
Michael L. Nelson is an associate professor of computer science at Old Dominion University.  Prior to joining ODU, he worked at NASA Langley Research Center from 1991-2002.  He also spent the 2000-2001 academic year as a post-doc at SILS, UNC at Chapel Hill.  He is a co-editor of the OAI-PMH and OAI-ORE specifications and is a 2007 recipient of an NSF CAREER award. He has developed many digital libraries, including the NASA Technical Report Server.  His research interests include repository-object interaction and alternative approaches to digital preservation.  More information about Dr. Nelson can be found at: