Friday, March 20, 2015

Tools for Discovering and Archiving the Mobile Web

Tools for Discovering and Archiving the Mobile Web. Frank McCown, Monica Yarbrough and Keith Enlow. D-Lib Magazine. March/April 2015.
Many websites have been adapted for access by smartphones and tablets. This has required web archivists to change the way they archive this ephemeral web content. A tool has been created using Heretrix called MobileFinder which can be used to automatically detect mobile pages when given a seed URL. It can be used as a web service.
There are three primary techniques used by websites to deliver mobile pages, and the results of a test to determine which technique was used:
  1. Using responsive web design  techniques to deliver the same content to both desktop and mobile devices: 68%
  2. Dynamically serving different HTML and CSS to mobile devices using the same URL: 24%
  3. Using different URLs to send out desktop or mobile pages: 8%
MobileFinder found in a test that 62% of randomly selected URLs had a mobile-specific root page. A web archiving tool needs to be aware of when these methods are being used so it doesn't miss finding mobile content.

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