Web Citation Availability: A Follow-up Study

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Casserly, Mary F.
Bird, James
Library Resources & Technical Services
Bibliographical citations--Research , Citations of electronic information resources , Information retrieval , Electronic information resource searching , Web archives , Internet searching , Websites -- Management , Websites-- Maintenance and repair , Internet research , Electronic information resource literacy , Internet addresses , Uniform resource locators , Link rot , URL persistance , URL availability
The researchers report on a study to examine the persistence of Web-based content. In 2002, a sample of 500 citations to Internet resources from articles published in library and information science journals in 1999 and 2000 were analyzed by citation characteristics and searched to determine cited content persistence, availability on the Web, and availability in the Internet Archive. Statistical analyses were conducted to identify citation characteristics associated with availability. The sample URLs were searched again between August 2005 and June 2006 to determine persistence, availability on the Web, and in the Internet Archive. As in the original study, the researchers cross-tabulated the results with URL characteristics and reviewed and analyzed journal instructions to authors on citing content on the Web. Findings included a decrease of 17.4 percent in persistence, and 8.2 percent in availability on the Web. When availability in the Internet Archives was factored in, the overall availability of Web content in the sample dropped from 89.2 percent to 80.6 percent. The statistical analysis confirmed the association between the likelihood that cited content will be found by future researchers and citation characteristics of content, domain, page type, and directory depth. The researchers also found an increase in the number of journals that provide instruction to authors on citing content on the Web.