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Link Rot and the US Supreme Court

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the getting-old dept.

The Courts 161

necro81 writes "Hyperlinks are not forever. Link rot occurs when a source you've linked to no longer exists — or worse, exists in a different state than when the link was originally made. Even permalinks aren't necessarily permanent if a domain goes silent or switches ownership. According to new research from Harvard Law, some 49% of hyperlinks in Supreme Court documents no longer point to the correct original content. A second study on link rot from Yale stresses that for the Court footnotes, citations, parenthetical asides, and historical context mean as much as the text of an opinion itself, which makes link rot a threat to future scholarship."

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404 Not Found (4, Interesting)

themushroom (197365) | about 10 months ago | (#44926427)

Which is not what you want to see in, say, an Apple verses Samsung style case where "previous art" and earlier applications are all that separate you from being successfully sued into the Stone Age.

Re:404 Not Found (-1, Troll)

Moryath (553296) | about 10 months ago | (#44926701)

I'm still not sure what the takeaway from this is, save the fact that in addition to being a senile old coot, racist, anti-semite, and all-around waste of oxygen Scalia is also clueless about technology.

In fact, generally assuming Scalia is wrong about everything will serve you well.

Re:404 Not Found (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | about 10 months ago | (#44926841)

senile old coot, racist, anti-semite, and all-around waste of oxygen Scalia

Why wouldn't you just compare him with Hitler (disfavorably) and be done for the day?

dupe story (5, Funny)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 10 months ago | (#44926883)

Re:dupe story (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#44927301)

I'm out of mod points, sorry!

Re:404 Not Found (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 10 months ago | (#44927195)

"Why wouldn't you just compare him with Hitler (disfavorably) and be done for the day?"

I'm curious. How would comparing him to Hitler favorably work? Can you give an example?

Re:404 Not Found (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927371)

Like Hitler he's a snappy dresser.

Re:404 Not Found (2)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 10 months ago | (#44927565)

I'm curious. How would comparing him to Hitler favorably work? Can you give an example?

In my opinion Antonin Scalia is one of the most charismatic public speakers in history. To me his speeches are every bit as compelling as those of Adolph Hitler, Winston Churchill or Zig Ziglar.

Re:404 Not Found (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 10 months ago | (#44927899)

Hitler was dedicated to his work.

Re:404 Not Found (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926961)

I think you'd be better served assuming whenever a case comes before the Supreme Court that the Government has over-stepped its Constitutional authority. Read the Declaration of Independence and see the list of grievances against the King of England and ask yourself do you really think those same people would have wanted the Federal Government to have all the power it currently has?

Re:404 Not Found (1)

Zcar (756484) | about 10 months ago | (#44927163)

Some of them, yes, given that both a compromise documents. Some of the Federalists in particular would, I think, have been perfectly all right with expansive views of the General Welfare, Interstate Commerce, and Necessary and Proper clauses.

Re:404 Not Found (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 10 months ago | (#44927697)

I'm still not sure what the takeaway from this is, save the fact that in addition to being a senile old coot, racist, anti-semite, and all-around waste of oxygen Scalia is also clueless about technology.

In fact, generally assuming Scalia is wrong about everything will serve you well.

If you are truly honest you would understand that when you look at the court that it is filled with activist judges who care very little if at all for the Constitution and are just looking to make law that reflects what they want.

If you think it is just Scalia or just the Conservatives on the court that are evil you are either stupid or a liar,

Re:404 Not Found (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927263)

solution: print web page to pdf

Re:404 Not Found (1)

lxs (131946) | about 10 months ago | (#44927731)

That's a copyright violation. Let's hope that those court documents will never be seen by a lawyer.

Well that's easily remedied (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926467)

They should just start linking through the Wayback Machine.

Re:Well that's easily remedied (4, Insightful)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 10 months ago | (#44926573)

They should just start linking through the Wayback Machine.

...which is precisely what I did when I went back to university. I gave all citations with the original URL and an archive.org one. I hoped at the uni would pick up on it and recommend it to the other students, but it never happened....

Re:Well that's easily remedied (5, Interesting)

Frojack123 (2606639) | about 10 months ago | (#44926679)

They should just start linking through the Wayback Machine.

Interesting concept, but Wayback is not always complete.

Perhaps the court should create an exemption to copyright, that allows the creation an internal copy (perhaps in image or pdf format) of the page for anti-link-rot protection.

I'm sure with clever wording they can manage to restrict this to lawyers and court proceedings, however:
I could make the case that it should apply universally.

After all, If you ever put up a page publicly on the net to content you were the rightful owner of, you have declared that version of that page to be a public document, and anyone should have the ability to make a static Image of that document. There are all sorts of copyright corner cases involved, but it is really no different than publishing your screed in the New York times or your local paper. There is no way to unpublish it, and no way to prevent it being archived.

Re:Well that's easily remedied (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#44926729)

There's already an academic exemption to copyright. Excerpting to relevant passage is quite legal.

Re:Well that's easily remedied (1)

Frojack123 (2606639) | about 10 months ago | (#44926847)

True, but for court cases, you may need the entire document. And academic may not be interpreted broadly enough in the case of internet archives. Is the whole work the entire website, and one page simply a reasonable passage? Or do pages stand alone as a entire work?

 

Re:Well that's easily remedied (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#44926901)

Sure, it's illegal for them, but who's going to sue the Supreme court?

Re:Well that's easily remedied (2)

lgw (121541) | about 10 months ago | (#44927383)

Or they could just make the copy, and wait for the related copyright case to come to the Supreme Court. :)

Re:Well that's easily remedied (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927805)

And defend it by pointing out that the copyrighted work is now part of the public record (cite original decision which incorporated said work).

Re:Well that's easily remedied (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 10 months ago | (#44927823)

/win

Re:Well that's easily remedied (1)

Tony Isaac (1301187) | about 10 months ago | (#44926819)

That seems like a good idea, but what happens if the Wayback Machine decides to change their link format?

Re: Well that's easily remedied (3, Informative)

ibwolf (126465) | about 10 months ago | (#44926931)

Links to the WBM contain the original URL and a timestamp so it would be easy to redirect it. The issue is however unlikely to come up as Wayback links are meant to be long-term stable. They've already survived one complete rewrite of the underlying application.

Re: Well that's easily remedied (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927093)

True, but there are many other web archives out there that may have better copies. The original URL plus the timestamp /and a method to resolve that tuple/ is a much cleaner solution.

Thankfully such a solution exists, and is in the final stages of getting an RFC: http://www.mementoweb.org/

Re: Well that's easily remedied (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 10 months ago | (#44927309)

Links to the WBM contain the original URL and a timestamp so it would be easy to redirect it. The issue is however unlikely to come up as Wayback links are meant to be long-term stable. They've already survived one complete rewrite of the underlying application.

And how are they going to survive being bought by Rupert Murdoch?

Re:Well that's easily remedied (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927795)

They won't. It's run by the Internet Archive, which are super duper hyper ultra mega giga double anal about precisely that sort of thing. URIs are data too, right? So they too have longevity characteristics.

Re:Well that's easily remedied (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 10 months ago | (#44927575)

Why not just cite the original document? Do these no longer exist anymore? Ie, you cite the newspaper article itself, or a journal article, and so forth.

Appendices? (3, Interesting)

spamchang (302052) | about 10 months ago | (#44926471)

Should documents then start including snapshots of the site (Wayback Machine-style) in document appendices? It's more work, sure, but it seems to be an obvious solution.

Re:Appendices? (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 10 months ago | (#44926569)

. . . until robots.txt wipes out the archive.

Re:Appendices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926719)

Plus, that would violate copyright law unless they got permission from the author.

Re:Appendices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926895)

robots.txt doesn't do that sort of thing

Re:Appendices? (2)

petermgreen (876956) | about 10 months ago | (#44927583)

The wayback machine retroactively applies robots.txt and they don't seem interested in making any exceptions to that policy. Even in cases where the current owner of the domain is not related to the owner of the domain at the time the material was archived.

The archive isn't strictly wiped out but from the perspective of us normal people it may as well have been.

IIRC they even managed to pursude a court that making an exception so that someone could look stuff up for a legal case would be undue hardship and persude the court that they should instead force the site in question to change their robots.txt.

Re:Appendices? (2)

Frojack123 (2606639) | about 10 months ago | (#44926745)

I often print to pdf pages that I would like to link to. Then I put a live link, and a pdf link on my pages.
When the live link rots, I remove it and substitute the pdf link. I make very little effort to track down revised pages. (Putting in redirects is their job, not mine).

So far, because of the topic area I do web construction for, I've only been called to task for this once, and that was from an agency that had a updated version of their rotted link, (and didn't know enough about redirects).

Most rotted links are due to people not caring any more.

Re:Appendices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927123)

But that means getting permission from the copyright holder of the site first, if you want to play it legally safe - and as these are court documents, you can't really play it any other way.

Re:Appendices? (0)

pspahn (1175617) | about 10 months ago | (#44927745)

Back when people used to make me write papers and bother with writing all these silly citations, I always wondered why I could not simply cite Wikipedia, seeing as the wiki would then also include citations to all the things I was citing anyway.

This was confusing to me. I knew that at some point in the future whatever I am citing is going to no longer exist, making that citation invalid (of course, who's going to be reading my paper in 20 years... but I digress).

Why is it not perfectly acceptable to cite Wikipedia these days? It still relies on donations and such, but it's not going anywhere; once you cite something through Wikipedia, you are effectively future-proofing your citations.

Seems a lot less redundant than citing the other pages that are cited on Wikipedia. I guess academia isn't terribly keen on their industry going belly-up because of obsolescence.

Re:Appendices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927759)

that is why I use scrapbook. It is not a guarantee as there is a limit there, still it is something.

Wait a minute (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#44926495)

Link rot could be "a threat to future scholarship"? WHO SAID TRAINING FEWER LAWYERS WAS A BAD THING? I just don't see the problem.

Re:Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926587)

I'm an attorney you insensitive clod. So as we'd say it in court: my esteemed colleague can go fuck him/herself.

Re:Wait a minute (5, Funny)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 10 months ago | (#44927133)

* Lawyer: "Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?"

* Witness: "No."

* Lawyer: "Did you check for blood pressure?"

* Witness: "No."

* Lawyer: "Did you check for breathing?"

* Witness: "No."

* Lawyer: "So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?"

* Witness: "No."

* Lawyer: "How can you be so sure, Doctor?"

* Witness: "Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar."

* Lawyer: "But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?"

* Witness: "Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere."

Re:Wait a minute (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#44927605)

If you are an attorney then on would think you would welcome fewer competitors.

Re:Wait a minute (2)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 10 months ago | (#44926607)

Science also relies on scholarship. Legal scribes are not the only scholars.

Re:Wait a minute (1)

SlippyToad (240532) | about 10 months ago | (#44926631)

Well, training lawyers with incomplete information could lead to an unexpected revolution where we discard long-established precedents and rewrite all law as if it were born yesterday.

Especially in law which relies heavily on precedent, being able to find the actual precedents for comparison's sake would be critical, IMHO.

Re:Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926815)

I see you've been reading CNN and MSNBC and noticing how well that's been succeeding for journalism.

Re:Wait a minute (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 10 months ago | (#44926649)

"The same number of lawyers, now less informed" =/= "fewer lawyers".

Re:Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926699)

Why don't we take it to the logical extreme... "an infinite number of totally uninformed lawyers".

Re:Wait a minute (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#44927511)

Why don't we take it to the logical extreme... "an infinite number of totally uninformed lawyers".

Would we get Shakespeare out of that if we gave them a bunch of typewriters?

Re:Wait a minute (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 10 months ago | (#44926937)

WHO SAID TRAINING FEWER LAWYERS WAS A BAD THING? I just don't see the problem.

Presumably you've never needed a lawyer.

If you ever do, and your lawyer wants to cite to a case with a broken link referenced, it could impact you directly. Even if the linked page is still available somewhere, you might be paying $500/hour for your lawyer to find it.

Re:Wait a minute (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 10 months ago | (#44927643)

Oh I have, but I live in a small, civilized country, where all its laws and codes fit into one medium sized cardboard box, not that nightmare of a country where it has become fashionable to see who can get the highest page count on their bills this session ("let's pass it and then we can find out what's in it") legal system.

Re:Wait a minute (1)

forkazoo (138186) | about 10 months ago | (#44927631)

However many lawyers you have, it's obviously better for them to understand the logic behind a decision, rather than just accepting the whole system as "just the way it is."

Standardized Linking in the Face of Link Rot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926521)

Maybe instead of hyperlinks we need some kind of internet-ISBN and an archive of important data? Maybe the NSA is helping after all! *coughs violently*

Growing idiocracy and creeping loss of knowledge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926523)

It's happening.

Re:Growing idiocracy and creeping loss of knowledg (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#44927333)

Well, don't want to sound like a dick or nothin', but, ah... you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded.

Good thing the NSA has it all backed up! (5, Funny)

the_scoots (1595597) | about 10 months ago | (#44926553)

Good thing the NSA has it all backed up!

NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926555)

Just go to waybackmachine.nsa.gov

No. (2)

glrotate (300695) | about 10 months ago | (#44926593)

As someone who has worked on multiple sc briefs, the contents of some website referenced in an opinion certainly do not "mean as much as the text of an opinion itself."

Re:No. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#44926703)

If the references mean so little, why have them?

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927075)

Ahh, love the whiff of that extreme arrogance.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927191)

A writer wanting to make a point usually references and makes citations correctly. Website links are just not enough. The parents moderation is weird.

Old news (2)

onyxruby (118189) | about 10 months ago | (#44926625)

This has been a well known problem for at least a couple of decades. Google had their famous cache that was famous for saving peoples hides or embarrassing peoples mistakes. The people that run the Wayback machine have been fighting this problem for many, many years.

Their is a natural resistance to being able to preserve content as it was at the time. People, companies and governments like to make revisionist history and forget that certain things ever happened or change them after the fact. Specialized companies help with reputation management in ensuring that such things disappear for good.

It's a problem from tech support documentation that disappears to finding old employers that have changed their name and moved location. The only way to resolve the issue is to be able to preserve the content as it was for posterity. Always assume your links will vanish and turn your need pages into archive files. If you really want to do something about it donate [archive.org] to the Internet Archive.

Re:Old news (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 10 months ago | (#44927137)

All good points. If I may add to it:

I really wish web-sites would list the DATE as in month + year on their articles so can tell how old (or relevant) the information may be.

Microsoft has a really annoying habit of moving pages around. At least Microsoft and Apple put an unique identifier so even if pages get moved you can find it.

Whenever I come across anything interesting I usually "Print to PDF" so at least I have a semi-permanent form where I can search for keywords used in the document.

screen capture + URL shortener (4, Insightful)

ffflala (793437) | about 10 months ago | (#44926641)

For fuck's sake, this is one reason why PURLs exist. The trainwreck that is a constant string of dynamic URLs *printed* out in court opinions is an example of shameful institutional incompetence, regardless of whether it's willful ignorance or just plain ignorance.

What is required to address this is an official government domain that hosts static screencaptures of web pages, provides PURLs to point to them, and ideally uses a URL-shortening function like goo.go or bit.ly.

Then, instead of including a long, difficult-to-retype URL in the opinion, the short, easy-to-type PURL appears in the opinion. The supplemental info for the citation includes things like original URL and date accessed, and the given PURL will point to the material in question.

Opposed to this idea will be copyright owners who fear that court opinions will eliminate their revenues by providing free access to material they usually charge for. Because this kind of opposition is easy to use to score political points (big government! wasting taxpayer dollars!! eminent domain of the little guy's copyrighted material!!!), to make money, getting to this obvious solution will be long delayed. When it is ultimately decided upon, it will be thousands of times more expensive than need be, take three times as long to roll out, will be created using shoddy technology that will break very quickly, and be used as yet another example of government failure.

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (4, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 10 months ago | (#44926697)

and ideally uses a URL-shortening function like goo.go or bit.ly

WHY? I never click on such links for the elementary fact that I have no idea where they lead

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#44926749)

WHY? I never click on such links for the elementary fact that I have no idea where they lead

Agreed. If I have no idea where a link is going, I'm sure as hell not trusting it enough to click on it.

I want to know what domain I'm going to, and since .ly is Lybia, not exactly an entity I'm going to give blanket trust to.

I don't trust URL shorteners because I have no idea who controls them or what's on the other end of a link. They've always struck me as a terrible idea.

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (2)

Albanach (527650) | about 10 months ago | (#44927001)

Agreed. If I have no idea where a link is going, I'm sure as hell not trusting it enough to click on it.

Did you even read the original post before replying? The poster wanted a US government site that hosts static screen captures of web pages referenced in official documents. By implication you would know exactly where the link was taking you - to a government server that hosts images or PDFs of web pages.

Excepting the possibility that the NSA might be monitoring the documents you access, I can't really see why you would object to clicking through to such a site.

The reason for a URL shortener would, I imagine, be to make citations more manageable. Ideally it could also strip out characters that are likely to be confused 1/I 0/O to make it easier to transcribe a url from the printed document.

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 10 months ago | (#44927015)

So you never go to a new domain? You only stick to the well known domains that you're use to? I'm sure nefarious individuals would only use domains like .ly and would never use a .com/.net/.org domain name.

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#44927091)

So you never go to a new domain?

Not without knowing what it is, and not in a browser that's allowed to do much more than load pages, ignore scripts, and block cookies.

I don't make it a practice to go to random links I can't tell where I'm going or visit a web site I've never heard of unless I have some idea of what it is.

I place very little trust in the internet as a rule.

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (1)

similar_name (1164087) | about 10 months ago | (#44927261)

You shouldn't really trust the domain either. It might lead you into thinking this [google.com] is safe. NSFW.

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 10 months ago | (#44927087)

Clicking on a link is blanket trust?

Who the fuck are you people that are scared of clicking on a link?

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#44927357)

People using Windows and Internet Explorer?

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (1)

RoboRay (735839) | about 10 months ago | (#44927527)

Heyooooo!

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (1)

lgw (121541) | about 10 months ago | (#44927881)

Anyone whose work connection is monitored has reason to distrust links that might go to porn. Anyone whose brain hasn't already had those circuits permanently fused has reason to distrust links that might be goatse, or worse. Plus of course there are always zero-days for every browser, and it's sometimes easier to link spam to get traffic than hijack an ad server.

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 10 months ago | (#44926997)

WHY? I never click on such links for the elementary fact that I have no idea where they lead

That's not hard to work around. Bit.ly, for example, seems to use amzn.to for all shortened links that go to Amazon... if you click one of those links, you know it goes to Amazon and not Goatse. The US government could presumably afford to set up a link-shortening service of their own which you can trust to go to a government site.

improper assumptions (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 10 months ago | (#44926765)

PURLs and the like assume that there's going to be someone around to maintain the content, and maintain the linkage to the content.

If a document is officially 'published' and given some sort of persistant ID (eg, DOI, ARK, Handle, whatever), then citing documents *should* use those over URLs.

If however, you're just citing an example that's just some web site on the internet ... then you're SOL. They have no reason to never change their materials, keep a given version around 'til the end of time, or inform you if it's been moved elsewhere.

eg, say that there's a complaint about some process, they cite Montgomery Ward's website as an example where it was done previously ... of course, the company doesn't exist any more. This is much different than someone locking up an article from a paywall -- they *want* you to find the item, so they can then try to get $30 or whatever out of you.

(of course, I've just spent the last week talking about all of these issues, between meetings of DataCite [datacite.org] , Research Data Alliance [tvworldwide.com] and Force 11 [force11.org] )

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926837)

There's a .gov URL shortener already: go.usa.gov -- FAQ available at https://go.usa.gov/faq

For my work, if I need to submit a web document, I tend to save either a stitched-together .jpg or a .mht (sorry) along with the evidence in documents. The judges like to be able to see the documents without having to wait for a pageload.

Re:screen capture + URL shortener (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 10 months ago | (#44927365)

What is required to address this is an official government domain that hosts static screencaptures of web pages, provides PURLs to point to them, and ideally uses a URL-shortening function like goo.go [sic] or bit.ly.

Indeed. Nothing lends more credence to a US Government document then putting all of its external references under the control of Greenland (.gl) and Lybia (.ly).

Save it to write once media too. (1)

beernutz (16190) | about 10 months ago | (#44927475)

I would also add that this should be done with a "write once" kind of storage back. This way we have some small assurance it was not modified.

You could go even further and keep a running log on the same medium that had an md5 of each previous content item which was then md5'd with the current.
This seems (to me at least) like it would provide a verifiable trail that shows the written contents were not tampered with.

Would this kind of scheme me useful? or am I missing something obvious?

Plain text and grep are your friends here (2)

MikeLip (797771) | about 10 months ago | (#44926761)

Everything goes on one massive drive, and you grep keywords. Bring along a donut and coffee - it may be a while!

Re: Plain text and grep are your friends here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927449)

GREP! That's what Sonic '06 did to game grumps.

Read the 26 comments (-1, Offtopic)

retroworks (652802) | about 10 months ago | (#44926763)

Moderator Help [eff.org]

Preview [eff.org]

Library of Congress 2.0 (4, Insightful)

Covalent (1001277) | about 10 months ago | (#44926775)

This should be a mission of the Library of Congress - to archive everything ever used by the government (including court cases), be it on the Internet or not.

While they're at it, they can probably archive nearly everything else.

Re:Library of Congress 2.0 (5, Funny)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 10 months ago | (#44927101)

I think that duty was passed to another part of the government.

Re:Library of Congress 2.0 (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 10 months ago | (#44927175)

No, they're archiving everything ever used by the citizens. They don't care about documenting the government.

Re:Library of Congress 2.0 (1)

AdamThor (995520) | about 10 months ago | (#44927465)

Pfff! That creates liability!

Re:Library of Congress 2.0 (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 10 months ago | (#44927807)

to archive everything ever used by the government

I can't work out in my head how large a database that would have to be. Could you please estimate it in terms of Libraries of Congress.

Wait, is that recursive?

Memento project, yo. (2)

infinite.intimation (1648461) | about 10 months ago | (#44926781)

I would like to see participation in the memento project/stable URIs (http://mementoweb.org [mementoweb.org] ) become considered as a fundamental element of being considered "a journalist", part of the media, etc., in order to get the protections of that status. The lack of a consistent history in the web based media is harmful, and more than one massive corporation has used the "fluidity" of the web and hyperlinks to be more than fluid with the truth.
http://www.metafilter.com/98913/Ancestors-we-will-never-know-presage-feelings-we-can-never-have-now-go-forth-and-time-travel-on-the-web [metafilter.com]
Oh, and yeah, for e-laws and the presentation of findings of governmental groups and organizations, and those receiving governmentally recognized status as candidates of recognized parties with web presences... mandate that asap, and I will hug the government!
Transparency is only as good as your hyperlink protection and preservation plan.

An old joke (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926783)

Two guys rent a boat and go out fishing. They find a spot where there's lots to catch, and one of them makes a sign on the side of the boat pointing down to thwe water, and explains that it's so they can find the spot again. You fool, says the other, the next time we come we may not get the same boat.

This is why I never started an educational site (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 10 months ago | (#44926809)

For one person to make all the content needed for a person to educate them K-12-college is impossible. However you could write a hypertext document that links to content to educate people from K-12-college. I did not do this however, because of link rot. The obvious solution for these lawyers is to backup any page they want and have it documented, and not simply use URLs.

Someday, someone will have a good system to educate people spoon fed style on the Internet. For now, learning on the Internet can be far superior to a university education, but you need to be proactive about how you go about doing it. People who don't know how to educate themselves on the Internet are the people who need an education the most. Maybe a site that would give people these tools would be of use, but I'm sure someone made one.

Archive.org (1)

ildon (413912) | about 10 months ago | (#44926821)

Isn't this precisely the type of thing archive.org exists for?

Largest Citation Rot Study Link (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44926935)

The largest such study ever done is:
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.3459

We used every article on arXiv and in an institutional repository, looked up if it still existed and whether it was in a web archive. For those in the archive we also determine the difference between the time the article was published and the closest archived copy.

The bad news: Less than 25% of URIs referenced from the papers are currently archived. We need to be pro-active in archiving important web resources.
The good news: With perma.cc and more web archives coming online, plus active engagement (such as http://www.hiberlink.org/) we hope to see an improvement

-- Rob Sanderson (first author on the paper) // azaroth42@gmail.com

Re:Largest Citation Rot Study Link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927209)

Until funding for wayback, hiberlink and perma.cc fall through.

What happens when the gatekeepers of time bite the dust? Does someone archive their site?

It's a pervasive problem technology wise... quite different then a physical, printed piece of paper. In fact, the only real solution is probably that: print it.

OMG, they'll have to use the law books! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927041)

We're doomed! DOOMED!

DOI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927047)

Perhaps the legal world needs something similar to the DOI that academics use (http://www.doi.org/)?

CMS (1)

Zamphatta (1760346) | about 10 months ago | (#44927059)

Sounds like the Justice Dept. needs a better CMS.

Re:CMS (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#44927399)

All branches of the government could use a better Crap Management System.

Intranets suffers too. (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 10 months ago | (#44927105)

Company intranets suffers also from link rot, and some are doing it worse by using tools that inherently promote link rot.

The point is that files are moved around on filesystems now and then "for better structure", "making it easier to find" and other lame excuses, but if every file had an unique ID that could be used to link with then they could move around the files as much as they like without causing harm.

The courts are already aware of this (1)

DutchSter (150891) | about 10 months ago | (#44927515)

I have always found that whenever an opinion cites a URL the courts are careful to indicate the date that it was accessed. A hard copy (or at least a PDF) of the page as it existed at that time is then retained by the clerk in the case file. There's usually a footnote concerning this arrangement.

It's not that hard. No need for fancy technology or mass archiving of the Internet. The only thing they need is a basic PDF writer. Problem solved.

Why not just store all legal docs with their SHA1 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44927623)

Forget URLs that depend on some government site's web server filesystem layout, which might change, or some PHP script's specific dynamic URL syntax.. just throw all of the damn things into a flat filesystem or DB and fetch them by the SHA1 hash. (Or something larger if collisions are a problem).

Re:Why not just store all legal docs with their SH (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 10 months ago | (#44927839)

I think that Julian Assange talked about doing this in an interview I read. It really does make a lot of sense. You can make sure you have the right document and that it has not been altered.
Ha! I found it! Interview with Assange and Eric Schmidt.
http://techpresident.com/news/23773/googles-eric-schmidt-and-wikileaks-julian-assange-get-one-anothers-jokes [techpresident.com]
"Schmidt asks Assange what technologies he's looking out for to make it easier for an anonymous sender to reach out to a dubious recipient. He responds:
        The most important one is naming things properly. If we are able to name some... a video file or a piece of text in a way that is intrinsically coupled to the information there, so that there is no ambiguity-- a hash is an example of this--but then there's variations, maybe you want one that human beings can actually remember. Then it permits this information to be spread in such a way where you don't have to trust the underlying networks. And you can flood it."

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