Friday, March 21, 2014

Court Decisions, “Link Rot”, and

As defined in Wikipedia, “Link rot” is an informal term for the process by which hyperlinks (either on individual websites or the Internet in general) point to web pages, servers or other resources that have become permanently unavailable.  This has become a serious problem in legal opinions and decisions.  A consortium of law libraries is taking action by creating


As described at:
“ is a service, currently in beta, that allows users to create citation links that will never break. 
When a user creates a link, archives a copy of the referenced content, and generates a link to an unalterable hosted instance of the site. Regardless of what may happen to the original source, if the link is later published by a journal using the service, the archived version will always be available through the link.”
This is a serious problem as the website links to a paper co-authored by Internet legal luminati, Prof. Jonathan Zittrain (a CTC6 keynote speaker), Ms. Kendra Albert, and Prof. Lawrence Lessig of Harvard University Law School that:
“more than 70% of the URLs within the Harvard Law Review and other journals, and 50% of the URLs found within United States Supreme Court opinions, do not link to the originally cited information.”
The website describes how the service works by explaining that:
“(a)ny author can go to the website and input a URL. downloads the material at that URL and gives back a new URL (a “ link”) that can then be inserted in a paper. 
After the paper has been submitted to a journal, the journal staff checks that the provided link actually represents the cited material. If it does, the staff “vests” the link and it is forever preserved. Links that are not “vested” will be preserved for two years, at which point the author will have the option to renew the link for another two years.”
With more than 45 prestigious Law Libraries, and currently almost 2,000 users as participants, it is definitely something for your court to consider for use and participation.

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