How to cite dynamic web-based resources

Added by Branwen Hide on 05 May 2009 12:13

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Researchers are increasingly using and citing websites and other digital objects, such as blogs, videos and images, which can “disappear” overnight.

A study by Dellavalle et al. 2003 found that ~13% of internet references present in scholarly articles becoming inactive after 27 months. Also, web-based resources are highly dynamic, and often even when they do still exists, the sites no longer have the same content that was originally cited. This creates a huge problem, not just for researchers, but for editors and publishers alike.

I recently came across the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC), which was established in 2003 by the National libraries of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, The British Library (UK), The Library of Congress (USA) and the Internet Archive (USA), to, among other things, enable the collection, preservation and long-term access of Internet content from around the world. They have developed Webcite?, an on-demand archiving system for webreferences. This system can be used by researchers, web based authors, editors, publishers, libraries, as well as internet archive or digital preservation organization, in order to make sure that the cited web based material will remain available. It is currently being used by a number of academic publishers, with approximately 100 journals using WebCite? on a routine basis.

It is also being used to cite and archive tweets. Both twitter and microblogging are gaining momentum, as social network tools, and for academic discussions. A blog post by Gunther Eysenbach, gives a very good example of how to use WebCite? to cite and archive twitter tweets. I can safely say, that aleast for websites, this is a relatively straightforward process.

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