Missing Links: How Link Rot is Erasing Online Information in 2023
Missing Links: How Link Rot is Erasing Online Information in 2023

Permanent identifiers are being suggested as a solution to link rot, which is becoming a major problem in preserving online information. Link rot, the phenomenon of hyperlinks becoming inaccessible over time, is affecting scientific papers, news articles, government documents, and older websites. To combat link rot, websites can implement automatic updating and link protection solutions, but these measures can be costly and difficult to maintain. Link rot has tangible impacts such as loss of access to information and difficulty verifying sources, and it can also lead to "link rot" citations in new papers. Potential solutions include using permanent identifiers, archiving websites, using link checker software, updating old links, and using link shorteners and resolvers. Legal implications of link rot include copyright and fair use issues, as well as challenges in record keeping. Experts are expressing concern about the potential loss of access to information and are discussing ways to collaborate to address the issue.