got "content drift," or "link rot"?

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CJMacie, modified 7 Years ago at 1/23/15 6:08 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 1/23/15 5:54 AM

got "content drift," or "link rot"?

Posts: 856 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
READ THIS IT YOU'VE EVER GOT "ERROR 404" ("LINK ROT") WHEN TRYING TO HYPERLINK OUT OF A DhO POST, OR AUTHORED A POST WHERE THAT CREPT LATER. Otherwise, it's just for geeks, or maybe also authors.

In the brand-new issue of 'The New Yorker', under "Annals of Technology", titled "The Cobweb: Can the Internet be Archived?" (Jan 26, 2015 edition, pp.34-41).

It's the typical in-depth (and presumably exhaustively vetted) New Yorker approach, with gobs of information and historical background, basically about the anicca aspect of www content.

A sample quote:

(p.36) "The footnote, a landmark in the history of civilization, took centuries to invent and to spread. It has taken mere years nearly to destroy. A footnote used to say, "Here is how I know this and where I found it." A footnote that's a link says, "Here is what I used to know and where I once found it, but chances are it's not there anymore." It doesn't matter whether footnotes are your stock-in-trade. Everybody's in a pinch. Citing a Web page as the source for something you know – using a URL as evidence – is ubiquitous. Many people find themselves doing it three or four times before breakfast and five times more before lunch. What happens when your evidence vanishes by dinner time?"

Further down in the article possibly useful terms to learn:

(p.36) "The Web dwells in a never-ending present. It is – elementally – ethereal, ephemeral, unstable, and unreliable. [maybe Daniel could use this in MCTB2?] Sometimes when you try to visit a Web page what you see is an error message: "Page Not Found." This is known as "link rot," and it's a drag, but it's better than the alternative. More often, you see an updated Web page; most likely the original has been overwritten… Or maybe the page has been moved and something else is where it used to be. This is known as "content drift," and it's more pernicious… For the law and for the courts, link rot and content drift, which are collectively known as "reference rot," have been disasterous… The overwriting, drifting, and rotting of the Web is no less catastrophic for engineers, scientists, and doctors…" – That list should probably also include authors.

("Link rot" appears to match what I've hear as "stale link.")

Also, potentially useful:

(p.38) "And anyone who wants to can preserve a Web page, at any time, by going to archive.org/web, typing in a URL, and clicking "Save Page Now."

Later in the article, some hope is offered to the footnote / citation dilemma:(p.40) "The footnote problem, though, stands a good chance of being fixed. Last year, a tool called Perma.cc was launched… If you're writing a scholarly paper and want to use a link in your footnotes, you can create an archived version of the page you're linking to, a "permalink," and anyone later reading your footnotes will, when clicking on that link, be brought to the permantently archived version. Perma.cc has already been adopted by law reviews and state courts; it's only a matter of time
before it's universally adopted as the standard in legal, scientific, and scholarly citation."

(Of course, the term "permanent" is here used in the sense that the internet and digital storage as a whole is taken as capable of withstanding the law of anicca.)

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