Link Rot Undermines Scholarly Web Research
Information science. Going, going, gone: lost Internet references. Dellavalle RP, Hester EJ, Heilig LF, Drake AL, Kuntzman JW, Graber M, Schilling LM, Science (subscription only), October 31, 2003, 302: 787-788."The use of Internet references in academic literature is common, and Internet references are frequently inaccessible. The extent of Internet referencing and Internet reference activity in medical or scientific publications was systematically examined in more than 1000 articles published between 2000 and 2003 in the New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and Science. Internet references accounted for 2.6% of all references (672/25548) and in articles 27 months old, 13% of Internet references were inactive. Publishers, librarians, and readers need to reassess policies, archiving systems, and other resources for addressing Internet reference attrition to prevent further information loss."
See also the following related news release and supporting online materials for the article, as well as this article from today's Washington Post, On the Web, Research Work Proves Ephemeral.
Commentary on Deep Linking
Bret A. Fausett, Partner, Los Angeles Hancock, Rothert & Bunshoft, has published an article on deep linking in New Architect Magazine.
A posting on the Tech Law Advisor blog by Kevin J. Heller, Esq. expands on Bret's views.
Comparison Shopping Sites and Deep Linking Controversy
The use of crawlers (automated index tools) to mine data from web sites to create market comparison shopping services for subscribers is the focus of this Wall Street Journal article, Are Bots Legal?. An example of such a service is Bargain.com , whose home page proclaims, "Never Pay Retail Again!." Users may search through categories of consumer goods for competitive pricing options that then lead to deep links on the sites that range from real estate brokers to auctioneers. These deep links bypass e-commerce based sponsors and links that are hosted by the "retailers," which they contend causes them to lose business, and revenue.