A while back, I submitted a grant to JISC on digital preservation. The basic idea was to move a set of files that I had as Word docs, post them all on the knowledgeblog platform. The practical upshot of this is that the files, instead of rusting, become accessible to the world at large and, also, they also get digitially preserved by the various web preservation engines around. We called this digital preservation by stealth; putting something on the web is useful anyway, the preservation occurs as a happy by-product. And along the way, we get stats on whether the content was actually used by anyone.
Nice idea, I thought. Still, the grant bounced. There were several reasons for this: the preservation was so stealthy that one of the reviewers could not see it all at; another thought that the format chosen (HTML) was pretty dubious for preservation.
I had thought about using ScholarlyHTML which was announced several years ago; this comes from a similar understanding that HTML can be used well or badly for academic publication. Interestingly, their website uses a similar idea of to knowledge blog; collaborative editing out of band, followed by unchanging, date-stamped publication to a blog engine. At least this way the idea, although as Peter Sefton says on the front page “[That is, once I get the site established – I’m editing this page live to get started – ptsefton]”. But, the intention of ScholarlyHTML is largely to make content more explict; no bad thing, but now what I was after.
Instead, I have implemented what I descripe as “SimpleHTML”; alternatively, if you are of a more pejorative nature, you can call it “StupidHTML”. The idea is this; it is HTML which is a close to raw content as I can make it. Within WordPress, the “content” is generated by an editor (either internal to WordPress, or external for those using the XML-RPC publication), so there is little I can do about this. However, I can stop WordPress from making the situation worse by adding its own complexity.