May 10, 2010
Link Rot for Law- and Policy-Related Web Resources Nearly Doubles Per Year: Results of the Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive's Third Annual Study
The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive has released the results of its third annual analysis of “link rot” among the original URLs for law- and policy-related materials published to the Web and archived though the Chesapeake Project. "The sample of online publications was first analyzed in 2008 and showed link rot to be present in 8.3 percent of the publications’ original URLs. One year later, in 2009, the same sample showed an increase in link rot to 14.3 percent. The 2010 analysis reveals that nearly 28 percent of the online publications archived between March 2007 and March 2008 are no longer accessible from their original URLs."
The Project found that during the three years the URLs were studied, "link rot increased from about one in every 12 archived titles in 2008, to one in every seven titles in 2009, and finally to about one in every 3.5 titles in 2010. These findings demonstrate a dramatic increase in link rot among archived Web content over time."
State-Gov at Significant Risk for Link Rot. In its analysis of the prevalence of link rot among top-level domains, the Project found "content at state-government URLs (.state.__.us) to be at a significant risk for link rot, compared to resources posted to government (.gov) and organization (.org) Web sites. The current 2010 analysis of the sample showed link rot to be present in more than 32 percent, nearly one-third, of the URLs with a state-government top-level domain. The prevalence of link rot among these state URLs more than doubled in the year following the 2009 analysis, and it nearly tripled in the two years following the original 2008 analysis of the sample." Here's the ratio in the sample of URLs with link rot to working URLs, as of March 2008, March 2009, and March 2010, from the study's top-level domain analysis.
See the Project's findings at "Link Rot" and Legal Resources on the Web: A 2010 Analysis by the Chesapeake Project for details.
A big hat tip to soon-to-be (or maybe now is) new mom, Sarah Rhodes, Digital Collections Librarian, Georgetown Law Library. [JH]