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Perma: Scoping and Addressing the Problem of Link and Reference Rot in Legal Citations

24 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2013 Last revised: 15 Feb 2014

Jonathan L. Zittrain

Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government; Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Berkman Center for Internet & Society; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Kendra Albert

Harvard Law School

Lawrence Lessig

Harvard Law School; Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

Date Written: October 1, 2013

Abstract

We document a serious problem of reference rot: more than 70% of the URLs within the Harvard Law Review and other journals, and 50% of the URLs found within United States Supreme Court opinions, do not link to the originally cited information.

Given that, we propose a solution for authors and editors of new scholarship that involves libraries undertaking the distributed, long-term preservation of link contents.

Keywords: URLs, Internet, Link Rot, Reference Rot, Archiving Preservation

Suggested Citation

Zittrain, Jonathan L. and Albert, Kendra and Lessig, Lawrence, Perma: Scoping and Addressing the Problem of Link and Reference Rot in Legal Citations (October 1, 2013). Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 13-42. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2329161 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2329161

Jonathan Zittrain (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Kendra Albert

Harvard Law School ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Lawrence Lessig

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )

124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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