Thursday, April 14, 2016

Law Library of Congress Tackles Link Rot

The US government website DigitalGov has published an article called Law Library of Congress Implements Solution for Link and Reference Rot.

It explains how the Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. adopted Perma.cc, a tool developed at Harvard to help law journals and courts deal with link rot.

Link rot refers to broken URLs or to URLs that direct to the original site but whose corresponding document has been removed or relocated without any information about where to find it.

The Library had discovered many instances of link rot in its foreign, comparative and international law reports.

Using Perma.cc, authors can archive web documents and create a permalink to them:
"(...) Perma.cc was officially implemented by the Law Library on October 1, 2015. This means that hyperlinked footnote references in new Global Legal Research Center reports—such as the Center’s recent reports on foreign fighters, human trafficking or national parliaments—now contain links to archived versions of referenced Web pages, allowing readers permanent access to key legal materials, regardless of what happens to the original Web address."
Earlier Library Boy posts about link rot include:
  • Most Recent Issue of Law Library Journal (November 5, 2010): "Among the articles that attracted my attention: ... Breaking Down Link Rot: The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archives Examination of URL Stability: 'Ms. Rhodes explores URL stability, measured by the prevalence of link rot over a three-year period, among the original URLs for law- and policy-related materials published to the web and archived though the Chesapeake Project, a collaborative digital preservation initiative under way in the law library community. The results demonstrate a significant increase in link rot over time in materials originally published to seemingly stable organization, government, and state web sites'."
  • Fifth Annual Link Rot Report of the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group (May 3, 2012): "The Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group has just published its 5th annual study of link rot among the original URLs for online law- and policy-related materials it has been archiving since 2007 (...) In 2012, 218 out of 579 URLs in the sample no longer provide access to the content that was originally selected, captured, and archived by the Chesapeake Group. In other words, link rot has increased to 37.7 percent within five years."
  • CBC Radio Interview about Link Rot in Court Decisions (October 28, 2013): "The most recent episode of the CBC Radio show Spark includes an interview with Harvard Law School researcher Kendra Albert who co-authored an article about link rot in US Supreme Court decisions (...) In the case of the URLs in US Supreme Court decisions, the authors found a link rot rate of 50%. The Spark researchers checked URLs in Supreme Court of Canada decisions and found many broken links to texts from the Canadian Association of Journalists, the Law Society of Alberta and the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, among others."
  • Georgetown University Symposium Searches for Solutions for Link Rot (March 16, 2015): "Retired Supreme Court of the United States librarian Judith Gaskell published an article today on Slaw.ca called Link Rot: the Problem Is Getting Bigger, but Solutions Are Being Developed. The article describes a symposium in the fall of 2014 at Georgetown University that examined emerging solutions to the problem of link rot.." 
  • Profile Article About Inventor of Anti-Link Rot Perma.cc Web Tool (September 27, 2015): "The ABA Journal last week published a profile of "Legal Rebel" Jonathan Zittrain, the director of the Harvard Law Library. The Law School invented the tool Perma.cc that helps organizations create an archive of permanent links for web citations. It acts as a tool to deal with the growing menace of link rot."
  • US Supreme Court Tackles Link Rot Problem (October 11, 2015): "The New York Times reported last week that the Court has created a dedicated page on its website where it posts permanent copies of the materials to which it links in its decisions."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:50 pm

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