, , , , , , ,

Stopping Link Rot: Aiming to End A Virtual Epidemic, by NPR Staff, All Tech Considered, NPR


I have mentioned perma.cc and the problem of link rot before. It is a good solution but not quite perfected. When I have used it here on this blog, it is not always reliable, which is disappointing for something that shows such promise. Hopefully all the kinks will be worked out soon. -CCE

Just about anyone who’s gone online has encountered the message: ‘Error 404’ or page ‘Not Found.’ It’s what you see when a link is broken or dead — when the resource is no longer available.

It happens all across the Internet, on blogs, news websites, even links cited in decisions by the Supreme Court. It’s called link rot, and it spreads over time as more pages die.

These are natural deaths; links die when the server where the page first lived has closed for business, or a filter is blocking access. It’s annoying on sites like Buzzfeed and Gawker, but it’s worse when links go rotten on judicial decisions or works of scholarship.

Jonathan Zittrain, professor of law and computer science at Harvard University, says that’s a serious problem.

‘It’s extraordinarily bad for the long-term maintenance of the information we need, say, to understand the law,’ says Zittrain, who helped create Perma.cc, a service to help judges, authors and scholars preserve links indefinitely. . . .