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WebCite News and Press
WebCite used in the legal world
“(…) In a recent letter to The New York Law Journal, Kenneth H. Ryesky, a tax lawyer who teaches at Queens College and Yeshiva University, took exception to the practice, writing that “citation of an inherently unstable source such as Wikipedia can undermine the foundation not only of the judicial opinion in which Wikipedia is cited, but of the future briefs and judicial opinions which in turn use that judicial opinion as authority.”
Recognizing that concern, Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School who frequently writes about technology, said that he favored a system that captures in time online sources like Wikipedia, so that a reader sees the same material that the writer saw.
He said he used www.webcitation.org for the online citations in his amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios v. Grokster Ltd., which “makes the particular reference a stable reference, and something someone can evaluate. (…)”
New York Times, Jan 29, 2007
BioMed Central uses WebCite
Anyone who has tried to follow web links in an scientific article published several years ago will be familiar with the problem. You click a link, only to get a 'Server not responding' message, or a 'Page not found' error.
This lack of permanence of web links (sometimes known as link rot) is a general phenomenon across the web, but it is a particular problem in the case of published scientific research. On the one hand, the coherence of the published scientific record depends on being able to refer back to the articles including the online material that they refer to. But on the other hand, the character of scientific research projects (which tend to be funded for a few years at a time) and of scientific careers (which tend to involved frequent shifts between institutions) mean that scientific web pages become inaccessible with worrying regularity.
In this electronic age, it is not realistic to expect authors to refrain entirely from mentioning web pages in their articles, ephemeral as they may be. So, since late 2005, BioMed Central has been working in partnership with the WebCite initiative, based at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at Toronto General Hospital, to preserve archival copies of all web pages linked to from BioMed Central articles.
Matthew Cockerill, Publisher, BioMed Central Blog, Sep 17, 2007