Prevent Link Rot
Link rot is real, it is common, and it is pervasive. What is link rot? Link rot is essentially the process by which hyperlinks cease to function, usually because the web page or server they point to has moved or has become permanently unavailable. It has existed since the internet began. An example of its influence can be seen as recently as 2000, when a study found that within 24 months, 50% of .com domains and 20% of .gov domains were no longer viable.  Another study found that 70% of links in Harvard Law Review and 50% of links within the United States Supreme Court opinions are no longer viable.  If we are to take the internet as a primary resource seriously, then we seriously need to think about undertaking a better way of long-term preservation of link contents.
How stop link rot
Link rot can be combated in several ways.
- Use a digital object identifier which provides persistent and actionable identification. The a website under a DOI changes, it can be changed in the DOI service so that the unique DOI identifier always links to the most up-to-date material.
- Use a permanent web framework. Our current web protocol has many nodes of failure, while newer hypermedia frameworks seek a more distributed protocol with builtin content identies that would allow data to permanently be available.
- Only link to archiving sites like the Internet Archive or perma.cc. My little program I've written helps to combat link rot by providing a simple and easy way to convert all your links to an archived link.
Install and Run
$ virtualenv -p /usr/bin/python venv $ source venv/bin/activate (venv)$ pip install -r requirements.txt
(venv)$ python app.py
http://127.0.0.1:8012/ to use the web page to convert links.
Try the demo here.
- Determine relative links and fill in the original address to be able to convert
- Markwell, John, and David W. Brooks. "“Link rot” limits the usefulness of web‐based educational materials in biochemistry and molecular biology*." Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education 31.1 (2003): 69-72.
- Zittrain, Jonathan, Kendra Albert, and Lawrence Lessig. "Perma: Scoping and addressing the problem of link and reference rot in legal citations." Legal Information Management 14.02 (2014): 88-99.