Today we released a small set of improvements to Perma:
- Upgraded Django version to 1.11.13
- Removed Opbeat, which is shutting down and no longer needed
“…authors are strongly encouraged to keep a copy of any source that is not formally published, as a hedge against potential challenges to the research or data before, during, or after publication. […] Copies may be kept in the form of printouts or as digital files (e.g., as PDFs or screen captures), or by means of a permanent link creation service such as Perma.cc.”
We’re excited to announce a new partnership with AALL, who be using Perma.cc to preserve the links used in their Law Library Journal and other publications. See their press release, below!
March 27, 2018 — The American Association of Law Libraries’ (AALL) today announces the organization is partnering with Perma.cc to ensure AALL publications will remain complete and maintain their longevity for the benefit of its more than 4,500 members and those served by their legal information expertise. Perma.cc is a service that helps scholars, courts, and others create citation links that will never break by making a copy of the referenced content and generating a permanent link to an archived record of the page.
“Our primary goal as law librarians is providing access to legal information,” noted AALL President Greg Lambert. “It is critical that the resources we create are produced with strong preservation principles to ensure they are accessible to members, the public, and institutions that rely on them. Our partnership with Perma.cc will help us uphold this important responsibility.”
The partnership with Perma.cc will ensure the reliability of the links used in AALL’s Law Library Journal and other association publications, reinforcing AALL’s commitment to preserving legal information.
Perma.cc was developed at the Harvard Law School Library as a tool to fight link rot and content drift. Research has demonstrated the extent that citations have been affected across the web. For example, a study detailed in the Harvard Law Review revealed that over 50 percent of cited links in Supreme Court opinions and 70 percent of URLs from legal journals cited a reference that was inaccessible.
“We’re particularly proud of our members’ dedication and knowledge in launching Perma.cc, among them member Adam Ziegler, who serves as Perma.cc’s managing director as well as former Harvard Law School Library Innovation Lab Director Kim Dulin,” noted Lambert.
Perma.cc is free to use for those at academic institutions, courts, libraries, and other non-profit institutions and boasts over 20,000 users. Additionally, Perma.cc is now offering its services to law firms and other commercial organizations.
The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is the only national association dedicated to the legal information profession and its professionals. Founded in 1906 on the belief that people—lawyers, judges, students, and the public—need timely access to relevant legal information to make sound legal arguments and wise legal decisions, its nearly 4,500 members are problem solvers of the highest order. AALL fosters the profession by offering its members knowledge, leadership, and community that make the whole legal system stronger. For more information, visit www.aallnet.org.
When a user creates a Perma.cc link, Perma.cc archives the referenced content and generates a link to an archived record of the page. Regardless of what may happen to the original source, the archived record will always be available through the Perma.cc link. Perma.cc is developed and maintained by the Harvard Law School Library in conjunction with university law libraries across the country and other organizations in the “forever” business.
Guest post from Harvard Law J.D. student Aaron Marks:
As the Online Editor for the Harvard National Security Journal, I am the go-to person for many of the Journal’s technical questions. This semester I was able to put my technical skills to use by implementing a new tool that uses the Perma API. The National Security Journal’s fall issue (out now!) contains several hundred weblinks. We wanted to use Perma so that the content at those links would be permanently accessible. But we did not want to manually create Perma archives for hundreds of URLs, which could take some time.
On a hunch, I suspected that Perma might have an API that would enable us to programmatically generate these links. It turned out that not only did Perma have an API, but it was surprisingly simple to setup and use. In just a few hours, I wrote a Ruby application that could import a spreadsheet of URLs, generate Perma archives for those URLs, and output a new spreadsheet that includes the URLs for each new Perma archive.
In addition to programming with the Perma API, the experience let me interact with the Perma support team. This happened when I discovered a bug: on creating a new Perma archive, our custom archive title would revert, after a few seconds, back to the default title that Perma generates when a custom title is not submitted. Luckily the Perma support team was quite responsive after I reported the bug. In fact, they resolved the problem before the Journal published our latest issue.
Although I was a software engineer before coming to law school, I have not coded much in the past three years and so my programming skills were somewhat rusty. Happily, the API was very user-friendly and easily enabled our Journal to programmatically generate Perma archives. I would recommend trying the Perma API to integrate Perma archives into your publication, website, software application, or anything else that links to web-content that you want to be preserved.
PS – Special thanks to Brett and Rebecca from Perma who helped fix the bug that I discovered!
Aaron Marks is a third-year J.D. student at Harvard Law School. He is currently the Online Editor of the Harvard National Security Journal.
Link rot is already known to be a large – and growing – issue in *court opinions*, *legal scholarship* and in many *other forms of scholarship*. With Perma.cc, we’re helping courts and scholars prevent link rot in their work.
But lately we’ve seen a surge in Perma.cc usage among law firms: in the past two years, Perma.cc links have been included in over 600 cases in both state and federal court. And we’ve heard from many law firms interested in understanding how link rot affects them and how they might use Perma to tackle the problem (*newly available* to law firms and other commercial entities!).
Which led us to ask: is link rot a problem for law firms? In a nutshell, the answer is yes, link rot is a significant problem for law firms, particularly in court filings and marketing materials.
As the quantity and availability of online resources increase, linked citations to these materials has expanded across a wide variety of fields, including the court filings made by lawyers. These citations are key to the documents they are included in, providing vital supporting information for the arguments being made and even replacing many print resources. But the evolving nature of the internet means these sources do not retain the stability of printed material and will change over time.
Broken links in court filings not only no longer support the argument or position they originally did, but also frustrate courts trying to interact with them as the information they need no longer exists.
To get a sense of the scope of the problem, we recently conducted a quick review of court filings made in the last five years by three of the largest law firms in the U.S. Of the briefs containing links:
We also found that nearly 30% of all links that did still link to a page no longer displayed the referenced material, a.k.a. ‘reference rot’ or ‘content drift.’
Additionally, we found evidence that link rot can be very fast-acting: all of the briefs we reviewed were filed within the last five years, with one brief – filed just months ago in May 2017, containing 12 links – had roughly 75% of those links already broken.
This review of a small sample of briefs is hardly scientific, but highlights the problem and confirms that practicing lawyers, no less than courts and legal scholars, should be taking steps to link rot.
Perma.cc was devised and designed for this express purpose! Anyone can create a free account and make up to 10 Perma Links a month, and we’re now offereing a paid option for lawyers and law firms: visit our law firm signup page >here<, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Perma.cc got a recent shout-out in a December article for American Libraries Magazine about the importance of libraries in the Internet Age.
We highly value our relationships with libraries across the country as they are key partners in our work because, as the author points out, “Libraries respect history. Web pages are ephemeral, and link rot is a real problem. The content of library collections is much more stable.”
To get started using Perma.cc yourself, sign up here!
A series of small updates to Perma over the last few weeks have included:
Try out Perma.cc yourself at https://perma.cc!
Recent updates to Perma include:
Try out Perma.cc yourself at https://perma.cc!