Publishing online: the Tap Dance guide

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Amanda Lawrence

Published: 2014, Swinburne Institute for Social Research

The PDF version of this text is available at:

Make sure your web content is published professionally and can be:

  • Discovered – by search engines and potential readers
  • Curated – by information services, clearing houses and libraries 
  • Easily evaluated – by anyone who wants to use it
  • Cited and measured – so you can track your impact

Follow basic principles of web publishing to help discovery and stability:

It’s estimated that at least 30% of web links and references are broken within 2-3 years. Don’t let that be your major report. It's as easily as 1,2,3…

1. Provide a landing page for each distinct piece of content
Don’t move content once it is posted - provide redirects if you do move content

2. Provide basic metadata for your content
Follow the TAP DANCE metadata checklist so readers know what they will find and can make an informed selection.

  • Title/Subtitle
  • Author(s) (if applicable)
  • Producing organisation(s)
  • Date
  • Abstract/Description
  • Number of pages/Size of download/length of video etc
  • Copyright/Creative commons
  • E-Location—URL link(s)to PDF, Word, HTML, Audio, Video

3. Upload publications to a stable location
Where it is unlikely to be moved—preferably a public or institutional repository. If this is on your organization's website use short, clear, descriptive, file names without spaces.

Plan for your next web upgrade

Many organisations upgrade their websites every few years now and this is a key time when deadlinks are created. If you move all your documents every reference or link will be broken. Talk to your web team and make it a top requirement to keep your URLs stable.

Consider other hosting Options

Rather than hosting all your own content perhaps there are other options for long term storage and access for your document. Documents can be stored and retrieved in repositories, libraries or other databases helping to ensure long term stability and often providing services such as metrics.

Some options are:

Published as part of the Grey Litearture Strategies project supported by the Australian Research Councl.