City Paper Widget

Monday, November 3, 2014

Historic Preservation Moves to Fix Website Reboot

DC government offices has fixed some of the broken links and other problem created by the migration of the Office of Planning (OP) to a new web platorm -- see SALM blog post of October 20. However, hundreds of links to official documents from this blog and other web sites are still broken, and are likely to remain that way for an indefinite period.

(logo from OP website)
The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) and its staff at the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) are part of the Office of Planning. OP and HPRB officials say that fixes have been made and continue to be made, and a back catalog of official documents will be reposted. But it is not certain if all of the documents which were posted on the HPRB website in its previous incarnation will eventually return.

The following problems have been remedied:
  • Google searches for "HPRB" or "Historical Preservation Review Board" now lead to the agency's home page, instead of a broken link.
  • On the OP's default "404 - page not found" page, the non-working "link" to the non-existent page (named, "") has been replaced with a working link to "".
  • The abbreviated URL ( that HPRB posts on its mandatory public placarding now leads to HPRB's home page, instead of a "404" page.
Other problems remain to be addressed.

The old HPRB site contained meeting agendas and HPRB actions documents going back to 2010. As of this writing, the current site only has these documents for the last two months, that is, October and September 2014. In an email, Tanya Stern, OP's Chief of Staff, said: "We will post Agenda and HPRB Actions documents for each HPRB before September 2014 back to October 2010 starting with the most recent meetings first."

Prior to the website migration, HPRB also had many staff reports about historic buildings online. These reports were from the same period -- 2010 to 2014. Concerning re-posting these documents, Stern said: "...we are determining the timeframe for how far back the new site will host older reports.... [T]he new site is a new platform; we are still learning its capabilities for hosting the large volume of OP content."

Stern added that reports not found online could be requested individually.

There are -- ballpark guess -- 1,400-1,500 HPRB staff reports from this period which could be reposted. Stern said: "OP has a small number of staff who are trained on how to post web content on this platform..."

She continued: "I don't have a timeframe for when we will make a decision about how far back older content will be available online..." However, Stern estimated the decision would be made in the next few months.

About the possibility of creating automatic redirect pages, so that this blog (and a dozen more like it, as well as ANC pages, local historic preservation interest sites, and others) will not have to comb through its back catalog and re-assign old links, Stern said: "Given the huge volume of OP content online -- we are told ours is one of the largest District agency sites in terms of volume of content -- I doubt it will be possible to create automatic redirect pages for each page."

Thank you to Bruce Yarnall and Tanya Stern of OP for answering my emails.

See 2013 snapshot of HPRB's previous site from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine here.

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