Author archives

Sarah Rhodes is the digital collections librarian at the Georgetown Law Library in Washington, D.C., and a project coordinator for The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive, a digital preservation initiative of the Georgetown Law Library in collaboration with the State Law Libraries of Maryland and Virginia.

“Link Rot” and Legal Resources on the Web: A 2011 Analysis by the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group

Sarah Rhodes describes and documents the work of the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group’s fourth annual investigation of link rot among the original URLs for online law and policy-related materials archived though the group’s efforts. Link rot” is used to describe a URL that no longer provides direct access to files matching the content originally harvested from the URL. The Chesapeake Group focuses primarily on the preservation of Web-published legal materials, which often disappear as Web site content is rearranged or deleted over time. In the four years since the program began, the Chesapeake Group has built a digital archive collection comprising more than 7,400 digital items and 3,200 titles, all of which were originally posted to the Web.

Subjects: Features, Internet Resources - Web Links, Internet Trends, Legal Research, Legal Technology, Search Engines, Technology Trends

Breaking Down Link Rot: The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive’s Examination of URL Stability*

This guide for researches by Sarah Rhodes focuses on the highly significant impact of “link rot”, which refers to the loss or removal of content at a particular Uniform Resource Locator (URL) over time. When an attempt is made to open a documented link, either different or irrelevant information has replaced the expected content, or else the link is found to be broken, typically expressed by a 404 or “not found” error message. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Web-based materials often disappear as URLs change and web sites are changed, updated, or deleted.

Subjects: Digital Archives, Information Management, Legal Research, Libraries & Librarians, Library Software & Technology, Technology Trends, Web Management, Web-Based Training

Preserving Born-Digital Legal Materials – Where to Start?

Sarah Rhodes discusses the monumental challenge of preserving our digital heritage. She argues that law libraries specifically have a critically important role to play in this undertaking as access to legal and law-related information is a core underpinning of our democratic society. Our current digital preservation strategies and systems are imperfect but tremendous strides have been made over the past decade to stave off the dreaded digital dark age, and libraries today have a number of viable tools, services, and best practices at our disposal for the preservation of digital content.

Subjects: Features, Information Management, Law Librarians, Legal Research, Legal Technology, Library Software & Technology, Technology Trends
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