Check out webcitation.org — a project run at the University of Toronto. The basic idea is to create a permanent URL for citations, so that when the Supreme Court, e.g., cites a webpage, there’s a reliable way to get back to the webpage it cited. They do this by creating a reference URL, which then will refer back to an archive of the page created when the reference was created. E.g., I entered the URL for my blog (“http://lessig.org/blog”). It then created an archive URL “http://www.webcitation.org/5IlFymF33”. Click on it and it should take you to an archive page for my blog.Why, you might ask, would you ever want to substitute that long ugly URL for the short and spiffy http://lessig.org/blog? Well first, and most obviously if you’ve ever written something for publication, URLs are not always short and spiffy. Second, the point is to create an archive of a page at a particular moment.
This is a great idea, but as Prof. Lessig notes later in the piece, it does need to have some sort of guarentee of being permanent and not a dead-end. Also, the focus is on citation in scholarly works, but all web writing would benefit from some sort of permanent URI generater that would allow for the archiving and maintenance of links.
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