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Monday, April 28, 2014

Courts - "Stopping Link Rot: Aiming To End A Virtual Epidemic"

NPR Weekend Edition has a story on link rot - some quotes from the start of the story:

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.

"When a Supreme Court justice offers a URL to explain what he or she is thinking, if you can't follow it and can't get there, or even worse, if something different is there, people can be misled," Zittrain tells NPR's Scott Simon.

The ILB has had a number of earlier posts on the problem of link rot. Access them here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 28, 2014 11:26 AM
Posted to Courts in general