We’ve said it time and again: link rot is everywhere on the internet. Anyone who is concerned with having reliable internet citations should know that they need to be proactive about preserving their URLs. No one wants to revisit a blog post, or a wikipedia edit, or their genealogy research and find that they’ve lost a reliable source. When you’re faced with a 404 that means more effort to track down that information again, whether it be on the Wayback Machine or at a new location. And that’s if it exists somewhere else at all.
Since its inception Perma has helped law journals and courts create permanent citations for their work without any cap on the amount of links created. Over 350 institutions have joined us as registrars, administering accounts for academic use. These registrars act as administrators helping patrons navigate and troubleshoot. Everyone else not associated with a registrar has been able to work with Perma as well, but once their 10 free links a month dried up, they were out of luck.
We’ve gotten requests in the past from non-academically affiliated users who are hoping to have access to more than ten free links (they’ll even pay for it, they said!) Well – we’re all about experimenting here at the Library *Innovation* Lab, so we’ve put together a way for individuals to pay a monthly subscription fee to access unlimited Perma usage. For now, our price is $20 a month. Subscribers have access to the same Perma platform but now with the ability to create as many links as you need (that batch link tool all the sudden becomes very useful!)
Upgrading is easy. There’s a link right below the URL input on your Perma.cc homepage that says “Upgrade to unlimited Perma Links”:
Clicking that link will bring you to a contact form to let us know you’re interested! Someone from our team will be in touch to get your unlimited account set up. If you’re new to Perma, you can start off right away with a premium account if you’d like. Just check the box during sign up and we’ll also be in touch:
Of course, those affiliated with academic institutions and courts will continue to have access to Perma for free, and you can still make 10 links per month as a non-paying user. But we’ve heard from enough of you that sometimes 10 links just isn’t enough! This is a new path for Perma, so we’d love to hear feedback about our model. If you’re an individual user, what would your ideal system be?
“Is there a way to create more than one Perma.cc link at a time?”
This was a common question from our users and while it was a feature that was in the backlog, it was pushed into development when Leonid Grinberg, one of our own LIL alumni, now using Perma.cc as a law review editor, inquired about batch creation and offered to help build it!
We decided to invite the alumnus and additional law review editors to participate in a design session with our developers to sketch out how this feature might look and behave*. Before we started designing, the editors spoke about their journals’ processes when it comes to creating perma.cc links for articles, so the perma team had a better understanding of user workflows. Next, participants did 2 rounds of sketching and sharing their ideas, and then it was time for some prototyping and development over the next 6 months.
This has culminated in the release of our batch link creation tool – launched in time for law review subcites. Click that link to read all about it, then log on to Perma.cc to try it out yourself!
*Full participant list:
Leonid Grinberg – NYU Law Student/former LIL team member, and initial developer for the project
Nick Szydlowski- BC Law’s Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communication Librarian
Lydia Lichlyter and Frederick Ding- HLR Editors
LIL Perma team: Anastasia Aizman, Becky Cremona, Ben Steinberg, Adam Ziegler
Brett Johnson- LIL Outreach and Support Lead
Jess Rios- HLS Service Design and Assessment Librarian, co-creation activity facilitator
It’s simple: link-rot affects anyone whose work links to the web. Perma.cc keeps your work safe from it. Check out our new video and get your own account today at Perma.cc!
Last weekend members of the LIL team traveled to Baltimore for the annual gathering of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). Armed with our new business cards (thanks Anastasia) and freshly pressed buttons (thanks LILterns) Brett, Adam and I were ready to attend sessions, catch up with colleagues and hit the exhibit hall.
We kicked the weekend off with a keynote speech from Baltimore’s own John Waters, author and director of boundary-pushing cult films such as “Hairspray” and “Pink Flamingos”. Beyond his connection to the conference’s host city, his appearance seemed at first to be an odd fit. However, as he pointed out, “librarians are brave, smart and sometimes pissed off…and they stand up for people who get overlooked” – all qualities he tries to get at in his movies. His thoughts on access to books for prisoners, the risks of censorship, and equality got everyone ready for the next couple of days.
Our friends at LIPA once again generously shared their exhibit hall table with the LIL team, for which we’re exceedingly grateful. It was great to work alongside Margie Maes, champion of LIL and Executive Director of LIPA who will be retiring this month. Congratulations, Margie! We will miss her, but were also thrilled to meet her successor, Michelle as well. Here’s to future collaborations!
A big goal of ours during AALL (in addition to spreading the word about new-and-improved H20, progress on the Caselaw Access Project, and new batch link creation for Perma) was to seek feedback and thoughts from colleagues about link and citation rot in the broader context. We’ve been rooted in our home of an academic law library – but we are seeking input and thoughts about linkrot in other industries and contexts.
We want to know: Who thinks linkrot is a problem for the flow of information and citation? What is their job? What kind of content is especially susceptible to the dreaded 404 error? At what points in the creation of the content are citations and links added? Whose responsibility is that? Are you seeing solutions to this problem? Email us! We’d love to talk.
Stay tuned for some of the answers we got during conversations at AALL!
This week we are excited to announce the release of a long awaited Perma.cc feature: Batch Link Creation! Now, you can prevent link rot and citation drift en masse.
Before, your links were stowed away safely to be preserved for future use, but only one at a time. Now, you can create multiple Perma Links for your article, book, or briefing in one easy step. When you visit Perma.cc, select “Create Multiple Links” before you start.
Then simply collect the urls of the sites you want to capture and copy / paste them into the new upload portal:
The batch of Perma Links will be created and added to the folder of your choice, where you can treat them as individual records.
Here’s a good tip: if you use a citation creation tool like Zotero, you can export your chosen links into a .csv file (instructions here) and simply copy, paste, and preserve.
This feature is available to all Perma account holders but beware free account holders, those ten links per month might go faster than you were expecting. If you’re interested in learning more about our membership options for more frequent users give us a shout at info at perma.cc.
We’re always working to improve Perma. If you’re curious, all of our code is open source and available on Github and we have an API for developers.
I was fortunate to present on Perma.cc at this year’s CALICon conference – “Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction” conference – at American University.
image via Wikipedia
The session was well-attended and with an hour to present I was able to touch on a few different areas:
- The what-and-why of Perma.cc, how it works and how its archives are stored
- Current stats and growth: ~750,000 Perma records created, ~22,000 user accounts and ~225 institutions, and a number of references to Perma.cc in cases and law review articles in Westlaw
- The in-roads we’re making to academic libraries and commercial users, and the challenges we’re finding in getting them onboard
- What’s coming for Perma.cc: batch-link creation (which got an excited response!), Webrecorder code integration, and in an effort to make adoption at academic libraries easier, a new institutional account type that doesn’t require the user to be added to an organization: non-org institutional accounts.
Fantastic feedback and questions from the librarians, technologists and faculty members who attended the talk. Thanks to all!
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
If you’re interested in learning more, all of our code is open source and available on Github and we have an API for developers.
As you may have read elsewhere, CNN pages are notoriously difficult to archive. Our developers will attest to the complexity of CNN web pages and the impact that can have on speed and fidelity of capture. Often, whenever folks using Perma.cc report trouble preserving a page, one of our first questions is “Is it CNN?”
But CNN’s not all trouble, it turns out. Recently we discovered a Perma.cc link embedded in — of all places – a CNN.com article that cites an American Medical Association press release: https://perma.cc/CNE4-FEQ9.
Great to see that CNN appreciates a good web archive!
In recent months we’ve been asking this question more and more: does link rot matter to lawyers?
One context where it matters – or should matter – is in court, when lawyers routinely cite web pages in their briefs, complaints or other filings.
Here’s one example: a Complaint filed by lawyers for the Freedom of the Press Foundation against DOJ, CIA, NSA and other federal agencies for access to records concerning government surveillance of members of the news media. This Complaint cites several web pages that could disappear, change or break while the case is pending or at any time in the future. Fortunately the lawyers included Perma.cc links for each of the cited web sources, such as this one, a DOJ press release: https://perma.cc/NQQ8-82F2.
Here’s another example: a brief filed two weeks ago with the U.S. Supreme Court in Weyerhauser Co. v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This document also cites to several ephemeral online sources. These lawyers also included Perma.cc links pointing to preserved versions of the cited source. No matter what happens to the original source, the Perma.cc links will point future readers – such as Supreme Court justices and their clerks – to a stable record.
Lawyers no doubt want their citations to be accurate, reliable and helpful. When citing web pages, that means using web archiving tools to prevent link rot.
Perma.cc currently is free for lawyers to use to preserve up to 10 links per month. We offer paid subscriptions for higher volume use. You can sign up at https://perma.cc or reach out to us at info at perma.cc to learn more.
The 17th Edition of The Chicago Manual of Style is now available, and features Perma.cc in its recommendations. Chapter 14 section 15, regarding sources consulted online, states:
“…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.”
Our appreciation to the editors of The Chicago Manual of Style for including Perma.cc as the suggested tool for preserving internet sources. Learn more about Perma.cc, or sign up here!