Fixing broken links with the Internet Archive

The Internet Archive’s new link repair tool is now up and running. Make sure you make liberal use of it, for the sake of posterity.

Is the average lifespan of a webpage really only 100 days? This appears to be one of those statistics that are pulled out of a hat, but pages do move or simply disappear for all manner of reasons and none, and not only on small commercial websites – companies that may have gone bankrupt, and personal websites including blogs that people may grow tired of or delete for some other reason.

If you have a website or a blog, check out this article. The bottom line is that you insert the short block of code below into a dedicated file, and in the event of a 404 error it will redirect the user.

Of course, if the missing page has not been archived, it’s gone forever. This is something the Internet Archive’s founders have been agonising over since 1996!

They have also come up with a special tool for Wordpress, which was introduced earlier this year.

Even with these and doubtless new tools, link rot will continue, but you can do your bit, so anytime you find a useful link, say a news story, that you think may not be there next time you visit, how about running it through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and making a tiny contribution to preserving our heritage for future generations?

[The above article was first published October 27, 2013.]


Back To Digital Journal Index