A Solution for Web Citations


In 2003 I published a study providing evidence that the half life of a web citation was four years. WebCite offers a neat solution to this problem.

In my study I examined the accessibility and decay rate of web references by extracting and inspecting 4224 URL references from 2471 computer science articles that had appeared over the a five year period. Of those URLs 27% were not accessible at the time of the study, while close to 50% of them had became inaccessible 4 years from the date they were published. As a possible solution I proposed that professional societies and publishers should work towards establishing online repositories for cited Web material.

WebCite does exactly that. It allows authors to specify a web page they want to archive for citation, and creates a permanent archive copy of that page giving it a unique URL. For example, a snapshot of this blog at 2006-10-24 07:24:37 (before the posting of this article) is identified by the WebCite URL http://www.webcitation.org/5JsBdCo0S. Citations to this URL will (hopefully) remain valid in perpetuity. Journal editors and publishers can become WebCite members, and encourage authors to provide web citations using the WebCite URL. Currently most participating journals are from the life sciences field. This trend deserves to expand to cover all scientific disciplines.

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Last modified: Tuesday, October 24, 2006 2:35 pm

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Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material on this page created by Diomidis Spinellis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.