AO3 News

Release notes - release 0.8.12

Published: 2012-04-01 15:55:04 -0400

Welcome to Release 0.8.12. Elz, Enigel, Jenny S-T, Naomi, Sarken, and Tegan contributed code to this release, which was tested by our awesome testing team: Jenn, Kylie, mumble, Sam J., Sarken, Xparrot, and Zebra.


Character and Relationship Feeds

After a trial run with the "F/F" tag and the subsequent offering of fandom feeds, we're now enabling feeds for (canonical) character and relationship tags (the same ones that show up in our browse filters). As before, you will see a "Subscribe to the feed" link on works pages for a character or relationship, such as Katniss Everdeen or Bunny/Wild Tiger. We'll be monitoring the performance impact of these and will be considering adding more feed options if everything is running well!

Editable Drafts

Before, it wasn't possible to save changes to work and chapter drafts without posting them, which wasn't ideal. We're hoping to flesh out our drafts feature more in the future, but for now, we've added an option to save changes to drafts after previewing them. Hopefully that's a start that we can build on in making the draft editing/posting workflow better moving forward!

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

Release Details


  • Enabled feeds for character and relationship tags

Bug fixes

  • Works & Tags & Challenges
    • Finally made it possible to save edits to a draft without having to post the draft right away
    • Previewing a work would show the "Works inspired by this one:" line even if there weren't any, this has been fixed
    • The "Mark as Read" button was moved to the bottom of the work page
    • Links to non-fandom tags in work blurbs went to the /tag/xxx page (instead of tag/xxx/works) which didn't redirect properly for logged-in tag wranglers; this has been fixed
    • Gift exchanges which allowed optional tags to be used for matching were resulting in all users matching all other users, causing severe issues for several Challenges; this bug has been fixed
  • Design & Display
    • Made the questions on FAQ pages stand out more for easier scanning
    • In the filter box on works pages, only clicking the arrows next to the Rating / Category / Fandom etc. headers would reveal all options; this has been fixed to expand the clickable area across the whole header
    • Fixed an issue with the gray preview box when adding and editing chapters
    • There were several issues with the edit page for a series, both visible and in terms of accessibility, it has been restructured and updated to follow the layout of the work edit page
    • Improved the tag list in work blurbs on static collection pages
    • On mobile skins, the sorting buttons for a user's works page were unclickable, this has been fixed and works can be sorted again on mobile devices
    • There were a few issues with the "Condition: " display when creating a skin with an option such as "IE6" selected under "IE Only" (or when creating a skin with no options selected), these have been fixed
    • Fixed a display issue with the chapter index navigation when viewing a work in chapter-by-chapter mode
    • The "New Pseud" button on a user's pseuds index would show up twice in Chrome, this has been fixed
    • When editing a multi-chaptered work, two drop-down menus to select a custom stylesheet would show up, this has been fixed
    • The download options navigation would overlap the other navigation buttons when Javascript was disabled, this has been fixed
    • There was an issue with erroneous commas popping up after tags in work blurbs, in IE8 and lower, this has been fixed--since the fix was done with jQuery it will only work when Javascript is enabled
    • The static error pages that would be shown in only the most obscure cases (such as 500.html) were given the look and feel of the Archive error pages
  • Search
    • Made it possible to search for works by specifying a time frame in the form of "2 days ago" or "1 year ago"; previously it would throw up an error if not given a range in the form of "< 3 days ago”, i.e. “in the past 3 days” (Note that “x weeks ago” will search the entire 7-day-period given, and so on: “3 months ago”, if typed in today, will search the entirety of December)
    • The various search pages (Works, Tags, Bookmarks, Users) were linking to each other (or not) in an inconsistent and haphazard manner, they're now all interlinked
    • Excluded downloads, searches and external works from indexing by search engines
    • On the advanced search page, there was no actual help text for the "Bookmarked?" ticky, resulting in a 404 when clicking the question mark symbol; the appropriate help text has now been added
  • Fun with Errors
    • Importing works from throws an error because they have blocked us from accessing he site - we've now added a custom error message so you can see what went wrong if you try this and it fails
    • Fixed a bug that could cause errors 500 on users' History pages
    • Fixed a bug that could cause an error 500 when trying to preview a work in very rare cases
    • Fixed some problems with fandom feeds that would result in errors if the feed was empty
    • Subscribing or unsubscribing from a user or work would result in an error 500 if the user had set their browser to not send referrer information, this has been fixed
    • Trying to access the /gifts page within a collection (without selecting a user to display gifts for) would result in an error 500, it now gives a more meaningful error message
    • Trying to access a comments index in the form of /works/xxx/comments would result in an error 500, this has been fixed
    • Trying to load the profile page of a non-existing user would result in an error 500, it now properly redirects to the home page with an error message
    • Trying to load a non-existing fandom page would result in an error 500, it now redirects to the /media page with an error message
    • Trying to access the requests summary page for a gift exchange with no fandom tags allowed would cause an error 500, this has been fixed
    • Trying to unsubscribe from a user or work without Javascript enabled would result in an error 404, this has been fixed
  • Fun with Words
    • Changed the text of the invitation emails to encompass a wider variety of fanworks (not just fic)
    • Added podfic as a type of fanwork to the greeting on the homepage and invitation emails
    • The button on the edit multiple works page said "Update all stories", it now says "Update All Works" as it should
    • Fixed some mangled text in the help pop-up for public skins



Published: 2012-03-05 04:46:27 -0500

The OTW is delighted to welcome the SSA – the Smallville Slash Archive – to its new home within the Archive of Our Own. The Archivists of the SSA (most recently Danceswithgary) have worked hard in conjunction with ADT and Open Doors to make the SSA the first test case for our new mass importer – and the choice is both a symbolic and a practical one.

It’s symbolic because the SSA is a venerable old archive, a relic of an earlier moment in fannish time. The SSA was founded ten years ago, four days after the pilot episode of Smallville aired. Originally founded by Livia Penn and Calista Rose, for most of its life the SSA was hosted by Minotaur, a fan beloved in many fandoms and communities.

When Minotaur died unexpectedly in 2009, a coalition of fans (including Tallihensia and Elke Tanzer — thanks y’all!) worked with his family to ensure that the SSA archivists retained limited access to the site's account on the server where the archive was hosted, but this didn't include the ability to fix broken database code or updating the site.

The limits to the access and the broken code, in addition to the questionable life expectancy of the hosting, meant the archive's survival was uncertain.They approached us shortly thereafter, and have been waiting patiently for us to build the functionality required to save this archive of more than 4700 stories. And that’s why this archive is a practical first test case for our mass importer — the import will preserve the stories if the archive should go offline, and will also give authors direct access to their stories while keeping them within the context of the SSA.

The SSA’s new home is here in the Smallville Slash Archive Collection on the AO3. Our coders have been able to set up a redirect from the original domain to the new urls, to help preserve the validity of old links, rec lists, bookmarks, etc. The redirect will only work from urls; sadly is no longer available for us to set redirects. Because the redirects will be set up to go to the version of the work imported with the SSA, if you have a duplicate on the Archive with with comments / kudos you want to keep, we suggest you keep both versions for now (if you delete the one imported with the SSA, then the redirect will break). Down the line, we’re planning to implement a way of merging two copies of the same work so you can deal with these!

The SSA Collection will be kept open for a while after import in order to allow authors who have existing versions of the imported works on the Archive to add their preferred version to the Collection. The imported stories will be set as visible to Archive users only by default; after you claim them, you can use the ‘edit works’ function to set them all to public at once (if you wish). For more information about what happens with imported works, check out Open Doors Questions and Answers. Please note: If you choose to orphan your works, you will want to check them over first and edit out any remaining identifying data.

If you have questions for the SSA mods (or you’d like to give them a bit of love for their hard work keeping the SSA alive) then you’ll find more information at the mod posts: SSA Migration to AO3 - Q&A (Livejournal) and SSA Migration to AO3 - Q&A (Dreamwidth).

We’re thrilled to be able to begin fulfilling one of our longstanding missions, preserving and protecting fanworks which are otherwise at risk of disappearance from the internet. It’s a privilege to begin with an archive which represents such a large contribution to fandom.


Archive of Our Own Newsletter - February 2012

Published: 2012-03-03 16:21:38 -0500

Welcome to the first of our new format Archive news posts! Until now, the regular news posts on what's going on with the site have been appearing under the heading of 'Accessibility, Design and Technology Meeting News'. This is because when we first went into open Beta, AD&T were the only committee working directly on the Archive. However, as the site has grown and changed, so have our committees! So, we're changing to a new AO3 news format which will give more space to showcasing all the different kinds of AO3 work and happenings!

Who are our committees?

The Archive of Our Own is a project of the Organization for Transformative Works. There are a bunch of OTW committees who work on the Archive: Systems are responsible for our servers, the Communications Committee helps to support the committees with news and other communications, Abuse and Content Policy deal with policies and user conflicts, and lots of other committees help and advise on specific issues. However, there are three committees who you'll be hearing about a lot in these news posts, as they do much of the day-to-day work on the AO3:

Accessibility, Design and Technology

AD&T are responsible for the design and building of the AO3. They manage the coders, designers and testers who work together to develop the site, are responsible for the overall planning on the project, and liaise with the Systems committee to keep the servers happy.


Support are responsible for helping users with questions, problems and suggestions. They receive all the messages submitted through the Support form and make sure that users receive the help they need, working with other committees to get the answers to specific questions.

Tag Wrangling

The Tag Wrangling Committee are responsible for the tags on the Archive. They figure out policies to guide the wrangling of tags and manage the big team of tag wranglers who organise things behind the scenes. (If you'd like more detail on how tags are dealt with, check out our guide to tags on the AO3.)

New code and bug fixes

We just deployed some new code to the Archive: Release 0.8.11 is a small(ish) release which includes lots and lots of front-end fixes, enhancements to our 'edit multiple works' feature, and some tweaks to the email queue. Our next deploy is scheduled for sometime around the end of March.

What's up in the world of tags?

One of the things about wrangling is that there are more than 250,000 tags on the Archive. Even with our team of more than 100 volunteers and staffers, sometimes a tag gets wrangled incorrectly, or something is wrangled quickly without due consideration, or due to the fact we're human beings we simply overlook something important.

One of the more recent examples of this would be the tag “Near Eastern Mythology”. A user brought this tag to the attention of the Tag Wrangling Committee, pointing out that the tag was flawed in several ways. Foremost, it was unclear as to which countries and cultures should be linked within this tag - the definition has shifted historically a number of times. More importantly, it was felt that the term “Near East” projected a specific Eurocentric-exclusive worldview. One of the Archive’s goals is inclusion of all who want to join, so this tag was problematic.

After an extended conversation with several users and the Internationalization & Outreach committee chair, we decided there was no single term for the category that would be both accurate and inclusive. As such, we re-wrangled the character and relationship tags out of “Near Eastern Mythology” and into specific mythologies, including Babylonian Mythology, Mesopotamian Mythology, Persian Mythology, Semitic Mythology, and Sumerian Mythology. We’ve unmarked “Near Eastern Mythology” so it won’t appear in the auto-complete or fandom list (though, as always, we haven’t changed the tags on the actual works). The old tag itself is now a synonym of Mythology, so you can still find the works tagged by it.

We always value user input on our tagging system - if you see a tag you feel is problematic in some way, please let us know by submitting a support ticket or send a tweet to @ao3_wranglers! Thank you to the user who drew our attention to this tag.

Supporting our users

Support has been hard at work throughout the hiatus. In January we saw almost 330 tickets sent in; so far in February we've seen 172. At the moment we only have 12 tickets open. *\o/*

One of our big projects for the Archive this year is developing our internal and external documentation. We're jazzed that Support are so on top of tickets, but we want to make it even easier for our users to find stuff out by improving our FAQ and tutorials. We also want to make it easier for our staff to do their work by developing our internal knowledge base. Support are working with AD&T and the Volunteers and Recruitment Committee to create a documentation workgroup which will specialise in this area. If this is something you're interested in helping out with, please let our Volunteer committee know by filling out our volunteer form.

Speaking of tutorials, Support staffer Sam has just completed a great one on Embedding Media. We have more coding plans to make this easier and better in the future, but this great resource takes you through all the tips and tricks you need to know with our current setup.

Cool stuff on the Archive!

We celebrated Valentine's Day on the Archive with our Seven Days of Love challenge encouraging more commenting, kudosing, reccing, and creating of works, and with a big Valentine's Day thank you to all the people who make the AO3 awesome.

We're planning to repeat the April Showers Challenge which we ran last year to celebrate under-represented fandoms on the AO3. This year we're hoping to make it more exciting and wide-ranging by getting our users involved with suggesting fandoms to celebrate - stay tuned for more news on this soon.

The coming weekend, we're excited to welcome the Smallville Slash Archive, which is making a new home here on the AO3 as the test case for our Open Doors project. *\0/*

AD&T Committee business of note

AD&T has gone back to a weekly meeting format, with the goal of getting together every Saturday for about an hour. So far we're doing well with the weekly part - keeping discussion to an hour is a lot more challenging!

Last year's chairs Elz & Amelia are continuing their work into this year, Naomi is our new Board liaison, and we're happy to welcome a few new and returning staffers: Maia, who was on staff in 2008 and chaired the committee in 2009, is back on board, Sarken is taking up the mantle as our new front-end lead, and Jenn Calaelen has joined us from testers! We spent our first couple of meetings making plans for the new term and brainstorming about ways we can improve our processes in different areas. Now we're off and running on various projects and looking forward to a great term!

Support Committee business of note

Support is still in the process of forming its committee for the coming term. We hope to have our first meeting soon; until then we are discussing several issues via email. Matty is returning as chair, and Jenny S-T will be serving as our new Board liaison.

Tag Wrangling Committee business of note

We had our first meetings of the term on the 20th and 25th of February. Returning chair Alison Watson is joined by Emilie Karr as co-chair, with Sanders our new Board liaison. Our committee has increased in size this year, and we've been working hard training up some new wranglers while we get started on our plans for the term.

If there are things you'd like to do or say, please share them in comments, via the AO3 support and feedback form, by volunteering, or in whatever medium you feel comfortable with. Everyone is welcome to this party!


Release notes for release 0.8.11

Published: 2012-03-01 22:40:18 -0500

Welcome to Release 0.8.11. Elz, erda, Firewolf, Jenny S-T, Naomi, Rebecca, Sam J., Sarken and tuff_ghost contributed code to this release, which was tested by our awesome testing team: Highlander II, hill, Irene, Jenn, Sarken, Sole, Kylie, Tai, Xparrot and Zebra.


Editing Multiple Works

This feature, accessible from the top right of your Works page, has been around for a while and in need of some loving attention for almost as long. Thanks to senior coder Naomi it is now possible to add or change meta information such as warnings and ratings, tags or authors all in one go. You can also lock all your works, or all your works in one fandom, to Archive members only, or add several stories to a Collection with one click. This feature also enables you to delete or orphan several works at once – please use with caution!

The page has been restructured to list your works by fandom, and you can select or deselect all works, or all works in one fandom, with the “All” or “None” buttons at the top, or next to the fandom name.

Please note that your edits will replace any already existing values! Whatever you type into the Additional Tags field, for example, won’t just be added to your existing tags, it will overwrite them. Please be careful when using this feature. If you leave a field blank or a box unchecked the corresponding information on your selected works will remain unchanged.

CSS Fixes

A big shout-out to our new design lead Sarken, who dug deep into our CSS code to tackle a whole load of layout and display issues. We do our best to support a wide array of browsers, mobile devices and assistive tech, with the main focus on accessibility above all else. Something that might look pretty in a browser might break access via screenreader, a bug fix that works in one browser might create more problems in another, and something that might look like an easy tweak might actually require non-trivial backend changes. We hope you’ll bear with us while we iron out any existing problems and further improve the skins feature, and welcome all feedback and bug reports through our Support form.

Linking to Works on

When you bookmark an offsite work or list it as the source of a remix or translation, we currently check to make sure that the link is actually active. Recently, this resulted in errors when trying to bookmark or credit a work on, since they’ve blocked us from accessing their site. We’re now disabling the URL verification process for links, so you should be able to credit and bookmark all offsite works again.

Email Queue

We currently have over 36,000 users, posting, editing and commenting on works, leaving kudos, signing up for challenges and generally keeping our servers nice and busy. Sometimes this leads to a large backlog of notifications waiting to be sent out and clogging up the pipes when people are waiting for account activation or password reset emails. Until we’ve put a more longterm solution in place to deal with the sheer volume of messages we’re sending out daily, time-sensitive notifications will be prioritized and sent directly to the front of the queue. We’ll be monitoring the effects of these tweaks on the email backlog.

Known Issues

See our Known Issues page for current issues.

Release Details


  • Fixed and enhanced the option to edit or delete multiple works at once (when editing please note the warnings before submitting your changes!)

Bug fixes

  • Works
    • Fixed an issue where work titles with ampersands would display incorrectly in .epub downloads
    • Non-Roman characters were being turned into HTML code entities by the parser when trying to edit the work, this has been fixed – hurray! Apologies to those users who were inconvenienced by this bug.
    • Disabled URL verification for so all offsite works can be bookmarked and credited again
  • Collections & Challenges
    • Fixed an issue with erroneous Warnings and Ratings tags (such as “No Archive Warnings A”) showing up in tag sets and challenge sign-up forms
    • Did some back-end work on the code which generates prompt index pages to speed up the loading process
  • Frontend & Design
    • The Help boxes across the site were unwieldy or inaccessible for users who rely on their keyboard for navigation; after some rewrites under the hood these issues should be fixed and the boxes should behave more consistently across browsers
    • Rewrote the way images (such as our warnings/ratings/completeness/etc. icons in work blurbs) are handled, hopefully streamlining page loads in the process (see CSS Image Sprites for more information)
    • Fixed the bottom pagination on the Inbox page (it was slipping to the side of the messages)
    • Made sure the “Notes:” header will only show up when notes are present
    • Fixed a display issue with the user name heading on the profile page
    • Fixed an issue with the size of the work text box when adding a new chapter
    • Fixed an issue with the size of the chapter title text field when posting or editing a chaptered work
    • The greeting in the header which is visible in some skins wasn’t linking to the user’s dashboard; it is now
    • Corrected the landmark text on the Popular Tags page (important for screenreader access)
    • Fixed a small issue with the pagination landmark on users’ Bookmarks pages
    • The “Most Popular” navigation item on the Tags page was displaying as plain text, it is now properly styled
    • The mobile stylesheet contained elements of the Slim Shaded skin, resulting in conflicts with other skins: this has been fixed
    • In blurbs without a summary the stats line and the edit buttons would be smushed too close, this has been fixed
    • Fixed a display issue with the chapter reorder buttons in various browsers
    • The button on Collection Rules pages said “en, Rules”, this has been corrected
    • There was an issue with text slipping under the user icon on Collection dashboards, this has been fixed
    • Got rid of double commas between maintainers in collection blurbs
    • Fixed a problem with the font in comment boxes interacting with browser default sizes for monospace font which resulted in very small text
    • Fixed a display issue with user icons on tag wrangler pages
    • Fixed a display issue with tables on mass-wrangling pages
    • Fixed a formatting issue with the action buttons on mass-wrangling pages
    • Fixed an issue with the Mystery Work icon when viewing a unrevealed work in your reading history
    • When hovering over the search field in the header, a small grey box suggesting some example search operators should pop up right below it; this was previously only working on Firefox and now works in Chrome, Opera, Safari, and IE 7 — it is, alas, still not working in IE 8 or 9.
    • Fixed a formatting issue with request/offer descriptions in Challenge signup tables
    • A bunch of small errors with work footers were fixed: lists of related series and lists of related works are now formatted consistently, and alignment issues with series information and “inspired by” links have been fixed. The changes mean you can now also style these elements with work skins.
    • Fixed alignment issues with the reordering buttons on the Manage Chapters page across a variety of browsers
    • Tweaked the way draggable list items (such as on the Manage Series pages) are displayed to make it more obvious what you can move around
    • Our CSS files were written with all definitions on one line, this was changed to pretty-print (more linebreaks and whitespace) for ease of use
  • Tag Wrangling
    • Fixed a redirect issue where removing a tag from the mass-wrangling page page would load the fandom page, rather than returning to mass-wrangling
    • Fixed a display issue where subtags and synonyms on Tag Edit pages were incorrectly formatted, also added mass-removal checkboxes
    • Closed a loophole making wrangler comments potentially visible to non-wranglers; wrangler status will now be checked even if the comment URL is known
  • Emails
    • Added a “support the OTW” link to the footer of all outgoing emails
    • Changed wording of the invitation email text to lessen the focus on fanfiction and further encompass all fanworks
    • Tweaked the email queue to prioritize account activation and password reset emails
    • Fixed an issue with 500 errors when clicking the account activation link
  • Misc.
    • Fixed link to the volunteering form on the Donate/Volunteering page and changed wording from the potentially misleading “Donate”
    • Fixed a redirect issue when editing your profile, it now stays on the correct page after updating
    • Removed the option to sign up using OpenID as part of our process of phasing OpenID out
    • Added a character counter to the “Icon comment text” field on Edit Pseud and Add New Pseud pages
    • Prepared backend code for abuse reports and admin mailers for internationalization


One of the Support tickets we're seeing more of is "How do I post my multimedia works?" It's not yet possible to host vids, art or soundfiles on the Archive, but you can embed works hosted elsewhere, so we wanted to let you know more about how to do that.

All information is current as of 29th August 2013, and is subject to change as we move forward.

Tags and Finding Audio-Visual Works

Right now, the best way to help people find your multimedia works is by adding the information in the Additional Tags Field. The current 'canonical' for audio fics (podcasts, audiobooks, and other such works) is the Tag Podfic, which has subtags for most of the file types (canonicals are the tags which show up in our browsing filters - other variants of the tag are hooked up to that so it finds them all). We also have a Podfic Available tag for authors who have audio versions of their work posted by another author or on another site. We also have a tag for Fanart, with many different subtags.

We also already have a lot of video under the Fanvids. Some are links to the works posted off-site, but many are embedded in the Archive and can be commented, kudosed, bookmarked, and shared!

We are discussing behind the scenes how to categorize audio/visual media works as we expand this aspect of the future, and at some stage will ask for public comment, so keep an eye out for that! Until then, find your favorite works in new forms, or tag your own works so others can find them!

Posting a New Multimedia Work

Right now, we don't have on-site hosting, so you'll have to host your file at another site such as Vimeo, YouTube, or your own website. You can always just create a link in your work so a user goes to your hosted site, but where's the fun in that? Here's what you need to know if you want to just press play!


The HTML Sanitizer we use runs a very tight whitelist on sites we allow to provide media code (this is necessary in order to ensure we don't let malevolent code slip by). If it's not posted to one of these listed sites, the Sanitizer will delete the embed code entirely.

  • (See Known Issues, below)
  • (See Known Issues, below)
  • (for playlists)
  • (for playlists)

We are currently keeping the whitelist short, evaluating each host site for stability, code vulnerability, content (whether fans are using it), and the size of its user base. (If you know of a site that you think should be on this list, submit a Support ticket and we will submit it for review. This may take a little while, so you may want to use another host.)

Some Notes about HTML Code

There are four ways to embed audio/video in HTML. Currently, we support code starting with the following three tags:

  • <object> - this is the older method that YouTube and Vimeo used to embed video until recently. It's reported to be buggy on iDevices, so use with caution.
  • <embed> - this tag is mostly used for audio, and occasionally to simplify the mess that <object> generates. It's a lot easier to read and compatible with more platforms, so if you have a choice between <object> and <embed>, choose the latter.
  • <iframe> - This is the newest style media embedding tag that we currently support and the most widely accepted for mobile media. Unlike the other tags, <iframe> functions as a separate window within your page to generate the content. This means that a user running NoScript, AdBlock, or similar may have to specifically request to see your media. By default, YouTube, Vimeo, and many other sites will try to give you <iframe>.

We do not actively support:

  • <audio> or <video> - These are new HTML5 tags, and while they're great in concept, cross-browser implementation is currently spotty. One of the major problems is you need two different versions of the same file to be guaranteed to play in any browser. The Archive's HTML Parser will remove any <audio> or <video> tags.

If you are writing your own embed code and find a property stripped out that you think should remain, let us know!

Inserting Art

Many websites that host your images will provide the code to embed the image in another site. Just remember that the code has to be posted into the HTML Editor, not the Rich Text Editor. Some sites do provide a lot of formatting in their code. The part you absolutely need to keep is the <img src="... /> portion.

If you prefer to use the Rich Text Editor, you can click on the "Insert Image" icon. You will need the actual link to the image, instead of the whole embed code. It will be something like or - It has to have the file extension at the end, though!

We currently don't restrict image sources, but if you find a site that isn't working, let us know via Support!

Inserting Video

Like images, most websites that host video for you for you will provide you the embed code to place in a post - you can just copy and paste this code into the HTML editor of a new work, tag it and post it! (See Known Issues below)

Inserting Audio

Embedding video is fairly straightforward if you're using the above sites. Embedding audio, on the other hand, requires passing the data through Google's public audio player.

  1. Find the direct link to your audio file. The file has to be in the MP3 format - none of the other common audio file types will work consistently.
  2. In your work, in the HTML editor, copy and paste the following:
    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" flashvars="mp3=MP3_FILE_URL" src="" width="250" height="27" allowscriptaccess="never" allownetworking="internal"></embed>
  3. Replace MP3_FILE_URL with the full link to your audio file. Make sure to include the http:// from the address, or the plug-in will be very confused. Also make sure your browser hasn't given you "smart" angled quotes. There are several other player versions available at our post announcing the new player software.
  4. Once you post the work, make sure to press play to verify all the servers can find each other.

Known Issues

  • Pasting with quote marks: Several of the major browsers are converting regular quote marks to angled smart quotes when pasting in code. These smart quotes will be stripped out by the parser, rendering the code unusable and causing the entire embed to be stripped out. You'll need to manually go through the pasted code and replace the "smart" angled quotes with straight double quotes.

The Future

In the future, we would like to provide on-site hosting of multimedia (it's likely that fanart will be the first media type we are able to support). If you have particular experience hosting, coding, and streaming multimedia works over the web, and are willing to volunteer, get in touch with the OTW Volunteers and Recruitment Committee and make sure to list your multimedia experience in the Additional Interests section!


Our doors are now opening!

Published: 2012-02-26 11:37:08 -0500

Our Open Doors are now opening wide to at-risk archives! The first generation mass archive importer is now ready for testing: this importer will allow us to import archives built on the popular 'Automated Archive' software. Many archives were built with this software over the last 15 years and some are now slowly sinking into the sea: four years ago, one of the things that brought the initial wave of fans together to work on the OTW was the desire to save these archives from extinction. We're really excited to have finally developed the infrastructure and functionality needed to move this work forward.

Here at the OTW, we love the plurality of fandom! There are many individual fannish archives with their own unique flavour and community, and we hope this will always continue. However, fannish archives disappear for a whole host of reasons: sometimes maintainers move on to pastures new, or real life concerns mean they can no longer support the archive. Sometimes a database becomes corrupted through simple use, and the archivist doesn't have the resources (or the technical knowledge) to fix it. Sometimes the money for servers and bandwidth runs out. Sometimes copyright holders launch legal challenges which the maintainers are unable or unwilling to act against. Often it is a combination of all of these things. When archives run into difficulties, they often disappear entirely, taking with them the wonderful creative works created by the fans who use them. Our Open Doors initiative aims to preserve these pieces of fannish history by allowing archivists to import their at-risk archives into the Archive of Our Own.

Our test case for the importer will be the Smallville Slash Archive, which was hosted by fannish legend Minotaur. Minotaur sadly passed away in 2009, and his fannish executors approached us to see whether we would be able to help ensure the site he supported did not disappear with him. They've waited patiently: we're thrilled to finally be able to give them the backup they need.

Imported archives will be set up as collections on the Archive of Our Own. This means that they will have their own profile page and header (if desired by the maintainer), and all works imported will be identified as part of that collection. Collections can be browsed independently of the main Archive, and works in collections are also accessible via the main Archive. If you have work on an archive which is scheduled for import, or you are just generally interested in how this will work, check out the Open Doors FAQ.

The SSA will be imported next week, on Sunday 3rd March! Our second test case will be the Yuletide archive, one of the newest and most complex iterations of the Automated Archive code. Once we've done these two archives and figured out any bugs, we'll be looking to import more at-risk archives: if you have an archive that uses the Automated Archive software and want to transfer it to the AO3 or to back it up in the AO3, please contact Open Doors! (You can continue to moderate or run your archive, which will be set up within AO3 as its own collection. Find out more at our short guide to Open Doors imports and the Open Doors FAQ.)

Our next step will be to try to build a version of this archive importer that works with e-fiction archives, which are also database-backed. If you are a coder who is familiar with e-fiction archives and wants to collaborate on customizing our next importer, please contact Volunteers and Recruiting: please mention specifically your e-fiction experience!


Open Doors Questions - And Answers

Published: 2012-02-26 11:35:21 -0500

We will soon be starting to import at-risk fannish archives into the AO3 through Open Doors. This is a central part of the OTW's mission: the preservation of fannish history. At the request of archivists, we will import works which would otherwise disappear because the archive code they are hosted on is old, because the archivist or the community can no longer afford server space, or because their maintainers are no longer able to support the archive (or a combination of all three). Archives imported onto the Archive of Our Own will be made into collections: this means they will be accessible via the main Archive, but will retain some visual distinctiveness with a unique profile and a link from each work to the parent collection.

We realize that this might raise a lot of procedural and philosophical questions, so we've recently revised our Open Doors FAQ. Below, we've excerpted some of the key questions and answers about what to expect if you have work on an archive which is being imported onto the Archive of Our Own.

How will I know if an archive with my work on it is going to be imported onto the AO3?

Before we import an archive, we'll post an Archive news post about the import and tweet about it on our Twitter account @ao3org. We will also encourage the maintainers of the archive we're importing to publicise the import on the old archive (if feasible) and in other venues where they believe affected users will see the news. Since at-risk archives are often older archives where many users have moved on and/or changed their contact details, we can't guarantee that everyone affected will know ahead of time, but we'll do our best to make sure people are aware.

How will I know when my work is imported onto the AO3?

When an import takes place, an email will be sent to every user who has had a work imported. These emails will go to the email address associated with the account on the old archive. This does mean that if you no longer have access to that email address, you won't be notified automatically - we hope that the other publicity around imports will help ensure that those people affected will hear about it. We maintain a list of imported archives in the Open Doors Special Collections Gallery.

What will happen when my work is imported onto the AO3?

When your work is imported onto the AO3, several things will happen:

  • We'll send an email to the email address associated with the account on the archive that's being imported, letting you know you can come and claim your works.
  • If you already have an account on the Archive of Our Own, you'll be able to claim the works and add them to your existing AO3 account.
  • If you don't have an account on the Archive of Our Own, you will be invited to create one, and will be able to claim your imported works and associate them with that account.
  • Your imported works will be locked to logged-in Archive users by default.

What if I don't have an account on the AO3?

When an archive is imported onto the AO3, you'll be notified by email. If you don't already have an account, you will be invited to create an Archive account (without adding yourself to our regular invitations queue). Yay! If you do already have an account, you'll be able to claim the works for that account.

How will I get control over my imported works?

If you have access to the email address associated with the account on the old archive:

  • You will receive an email letting you know your works have been imported and giving you the following options:
    • Claim the works on the Archive of Our Own and create a new account which they will be associated with (this means you get an AO3 account if you don't already have one). You can then edit, delete, etc, the same way you would with any work you posted on the AO3.
    • Claim the imported works and associate them with your existing AO3 account. You can then edit, delete, etc, the same way you would with any work you posted on the AO3.
    • Delete the imported works. If you do this, you will also have the option to prevent any future works associated with that email address being imported onto the Archive.
    • Orphan the imported works. This leaves the works on the Archive, but removes them from the control of any user account. You can choose whether to remove the name they were associated with on the old archive, or leave it displaying as a pseud.

If you don't have access to the email address associated with the account on the old archive:

  • Contact the archivist who is maintaining the new collection - contact details will be given on the profile page of the collection.
  • Contact the Open Doors team.

How will people be able to find my work?

The imported archive will be made into a collection on the Archive of Our Own, so it will remain individually distinct and can be browsed independently of the main archive. Imported works will also be accessible from the main Archive pages (so you may get some new readers!). Where possible, we will implement redirects from the original archive domain to the Archive of Our Own: we will publicise this on a case-by-case basis.

What if I have already posted a copy of the works being imported on the AO3?

If you imported the work from the original archive using our import feature, then the work will not be imported again and your existing copy will be associated with the collection. If you posted the work manually or imported it from a different url, then you will need to decide what to do with the duplicate work. You can:

  • Keep the version you posted manually and add it to the collection created for the imported archive. In this case you will wish to delete the duplicate copy.
  • Delete the version you posted manually and claim the version created during the Archive import.
  • Claim the imported version and choose to keep both versions (you may wish to do this if both versions of the work have comments and/or kudos, as there is no way of transferring comments from one work to another).

Will my comments / reviews from the old archive also be imported?

Our aim is to import comments and reviews, because we are keen to preserve fannish history, which includes the way people interacted with the work. However, this functionality depends on the setup of the original archive, so this will be determined on a case-by-case basis and information will be made available for each individual archive import.

Why are you importing archives onto the Archive of Our Own? Why not just save the entire archive and host it on the OTW's servers?

Preserving fannish history is a central part of our mission - we love the plurality of fandom and want there to be many individual archives, but we want to ensure that if someone can no longer maintain an archive, this bit of fandom isn't lost. We'd love to be able to preserve the archives themselves, but the resources required are too big: each archive would need its own server space, a team of coders able to update and/or rewrite the code behind it, some dedicated mods, etc. By importing archives onto the AO3 but making them into distinct collections, we are able to save the wonderful fannish creativity and a little of that individual identity, while ensuring we only have to support one set of code, one lot of servers, and one support team.

I have more questions! Where should I ask them?

Please contact the Open Doors committee.


And on the eighth day there was love!

Published: 2012-02-14 17:48:41 -0500

Over the past seven days, we've been spreading the love on the Archive of Our Own with our seven days of love challenge! Thanks to everyone who joined in and left comments, kudos, recs, love for challenges and love-themed works of all kinds!

Now, on the eighth day, we'd like to send our own Valentine's message. The Archive of Our Own is special because of all the people who make it that way, and we'd like to send a little love out to them all today! (Warning: mush ahead!)

We love all the OTW volunteers who work hard to create the Archive and keep it running smoothly. We have a lot of fun amidst all the hard work, and we love the joy our teams bring to the project. In reverse alphabetical order (we love you all equally):

Thank you to the Systems Committee, who keep our servers running smoothly and work their mysterious magic behind the scenes. Especial love to Sidra, the recipient of many a middle-of-the night appeal for help, who has gone without sleep to put things right when they've gone awry.

Thank you to the Support Committee, who are fast, patient and responsive and help ensure our users have the information and support they need. They are always smiling and friendly, even at their busiest (and they're getting super-efficient!).

Thank you to the Testers, who devotedly work through each new feature and each code fix to make sure that it's working as it should. They always go the extra mile, and their hard work is invaluable.

Thank you to the Tag Wranglers and the Tag Wrangling Committee, who put a great deal of thought and hard work into curating our tags and making them searchable. With 253,062 tags (and counting) on the site, they do an amazing job of keeping them all in order!

Thank you to the Communications folk, who do their best to keep everyone up to date with the news on the AO3!

Thank you to the Coders, who devote their time to building the Archive, and to fixing things when they go wrong. We love seeing people learning new skills as they work on the code, and we love those who pass on their skills to others.

Thank you to the Accessibility, Design and Technology Committee, who oversee the development of the project, manage design, and keep lots of other parts ticking along.

Thank you to the Abuse Committee, who manage the (thankfully few) disputes and complaints that arise.

Thank you to all the other bits of the OTW who do work in the organisation as a whole and enable all the teams above to do their jobs! We love you all ♥.


All of this hard work would be for naught if not for the wonderful people who use and support the Archive. So, love goes out from all our volunteers to you:

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the OTW - your money helps pay for our servers and all the other things we need to keep running!

Thank you to everyone who has ever sent us feedback or thanks - your thoughts help us make a better site and your praise makes us all smile!

Thank you to everyone who creates art, fics, filks, fan-poetry, vids, and other wonderful fanworks and posts them on the Archive for everyone to enjoy! We love you all!

Thank you to everyone who reads, comments, bookmarks, leaves kudos, and generally shares in the fannish excitement on the AO3! Your love keeps the whole thing ticking along.

THANK YOU to everyone whose love makes the Archive of Our Own what it is! We love you all and we hope you feel special today!

AO3 kudos image: stylised AO3 made to look like a figure with arms raised in joy, with hearts floating overhead


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