Ever have a web page link suddenly go bad? What happens when that broken link is in your course materials? Buried in your course bibliography? Cited inside one of your publications? Embedded in an official institutional document? Link rot is a major problem for scholars and institutions, whether educational or not. Link rot has even plagued US Supreme Court opinions, creating major problems in legal reasoning and precedent.
Ever have a web site or web domain that you can't or don't want to maintain in perpetuity? Have you assumed that you had to make the unenviable choice between supporting or killing a website?
Fortunately, there is a solution for link rot and website preservation. It's called web archiving.
Link rot has a cure: creating permanent web archives (rather than webpages that can change or go down) and citing these archived pages!
Websites don't have to die! They can have a dignified retirement: creating permanent web archives lets web sites and content endure regardless of ongoing financial or technological support.
According to the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC), "Web archiving is the process of collecting portions of the World Wide Web, preserving the collections in an archival format, and then serving the archives for access and use." California State University, Fullerton uses web archiving to capture, preserve and provide access to web-based content related to our institutional history, faculty research, and student projects.
The Internet Archive (which includes both the free Wayback Machine and the subscription-based Archive-IT) archives over one billion (!) pages every week. Learn more about this fascinating non-profit corporation at the heart of archiving the public web.
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