#LinkRot Panel 2 - Scoping the Problem - @rodwittenberg and Raizel Liebler

Rod Wittenberg, Reed Tech:

There is a huge commercial impact on Lexis because of the impermanence of the Web. (I’m not sure if the slide deck will be available — but there is some very interesting data.)

The business is to consult with organizations to determine how bad the link rot problem is.

Raizel Liebler, John Marshall Law School:

New research on SCOTUS opinions from last term. List of agencies cited included in conference information packet.

The type of rot is not always easy to classify. (Reference Rot and Link Rot are the two advanced by Zittrain.) But, what about:

- Typos in the links. It happened. 404 error, but does that mean the link qua link doesn't work?

- .do links -- internal sites that won't resolve without a login.

- Quality of sources selected by the justices is questionable to say the least. This is probably the most difficult of all. Is there a role for law librarians to “correct" poor source choices (WebMD, Wikipedia, etc.)?


Q: Difference in citation importance. Is it in dicta? Essential to the holding? In a dissent?

Liebler: Certainly link rot in a majority opinion would be worse. Interesting distinction to make -- should you link to a resource that also exists in other formats?

Wittenberg: We have no idea what links will be important in the future, so all should be treated as significant now. This is very much the pro-preservation argument.

Q: Can we afford to let the perfect be the enemy of the possible?

Liebler: No way. Just get started.