Robin Camille Davis
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Future-proof your bibliographies against link rot

March 01, 2024

Bless the Internet Archive, and bless the Wayback Machine. I’ve saved and re-accessed so much of my own work that way, and you should, too.

While a broken link may be a small irritant in day-to-day life, link rot as a whole negatively affects the scholarly record. If an academic article cites resources that can no longer be found, it becomes impossible for the reader to check the sources to ascertain whether the author correctly interpreted them. ... So what’s an academic author to do if they want to protect their work from link rot?

Read the rest on Libtech Insights »

Something I didn’t mention in the blog post is that URLs are a form of metadata. Even if they don’t work, you can still suss out where the content was published, and sometimes when, too. And the URL string is the primary way you’d be able to access an archived copy, if the bibliography doesn’t specify where the archived copy is. So even though people consider “bare” URLs an ugly addition to printed matter, they’re still important to keep!

I write monthly(ish) posts for LibTech Insights, a blog about technology in academic libraries from Choice, an ACRL/ALA publisher.